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Conservatives disappointed with Taxpayers' Union vision

Conservatives disappointed with Taxpayers' Union “concrete box” vision

The Conservative Party responded to the Taxpayers' Union today saying the Union lacks vision when it comes to prison reform.

“In criticising the Conservative Policy the Taxpayers' Union has looked only at the costs based on the current prison system rather than the reduced costs that would result from the Conservative Party policy of prison reform” says Party Leader Colin Craig.

“The Conservative Party has said that it will end the parole system that results in the early release of prisoners. Instead the Party will require that prisoners be working for the duration of their full sentence. Proceeds from the work they do will firstly cover costs and secondly compensate victims” says Mr Craig.

“Conservative Party members in the Wellington region recently hosted prison governor Mr Burl Cain from Louisana who runs a prison holding 6,800 prisoners. The prison is centred around an 18,000 acre food plantation and runs at no cost to the Louisana taxpayers. This prison houses the worst of the worst and yet is able to be cost neutral” says Mr Craig. “We simply need to rethink the current New Zealand approach which is based on an inefficient concrete box mentality.”

“If we get our way prisons will be cost neutral and focused on productive work” says Mr Craig. “Offenders will serve their full sentence and tax payers will be saved a ton of money. It’s a win-win.”

Garth McVicar, Justice Spokesman for the Conservatives, and campaigning in Napier against scaling back of the local Police Force also took exception to the Taxpayers' Union release.

“A major problem with the Taxpayer Union approach is they entirely overlook the cost of not keeping recidivist offenders off the streets” says McVicar. “Recent figures put the cost of crime at over $11 billion per year and that is without including the cost to victims and administration of the parole system.”

“A move toward cost-neutral prisons that ensure prisoners serve their full sentence are clearly the best way forward and I think what most New Zealanders want” says McVicar. “When we start looking at the personal cost to victims and the additional Policing cost to catch and apprehend criminals released early there is no question our policy makes the most economic sense.”

McVicar says “As one person said if to me, if he could protect his family from violent offenders for less than the price of a cup of coffee he was giving his vote to the Conservatives.”

“The evidence from around the world proves that safety and prosperity go hand-in-hand. Safe countries attract businesses’ that prosper and grow the economy. We won’t be backing down from the goal to reinstate New Zealander as the safest country in the world” says Garth McVicar.

ENDS

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