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Christian Heritage Attack Govt Over Violence

CHP Accuses Government Of “Dereliction Of Duty” In Failing To Protect Law-Abiding New Zealanders.

The Christian Heritage Party today slammed as ‘scandalous and shameful’ the woefully inadequate response of the National Government to the shocking rate of violent crime in New Zealand.

Party Leader, Graham Capill, accused the present administration of ‘gross dereliction of duty’ saying, “A Government’s first duty is to protect its citizens. Our Government is failing New Zealanders, conspicuously and tragically, in not fulfilling that duty.”

“Once New Zealand was one of the safest countries in the world. Today international comparisons show that New Zealand has the highest violent crime rate in the developed world – apart from the special case of South Africa. The Government has to accept its share of the responsibility in presiding over a shameful state of affairs where violent offences have soared to socially-damaging and fear-inducing levels during its inept tenure in office.

“Amazingly, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley was reported last month as hailing as ‘stunning results’ minuscule drops in last year’s recorded crime rates when these awful statistics told us that recorded violent offences were still 95% up on 1990 figures. The Prime Minister should be hanging her head in shame, not crowing in false triumphalism.”

The Christian Heritage Party also condemned the ‘feeble Labour/Alliance/Green response to the crime crisis facing New Zealand.

“When the vast majority of law-abiding men and women in New Zealand do not feel safe from the threat of violence, when victims of crime feel abandoned, when many violent assaults go completely unreported because people are afraid, and when burglary resolution rates are at a derisory 11.1%, all Helen Clark is pathetically promising in her first 100 days is to sit down with the police to establish burglary reduction targets.

“We need a Government with drive and resolution to tackle crime – not one that is going to sit down and have a chat with an over-stretched police force over cups of coffee,” said Mr Capill.

He went on, “Many New Zealanders are demanding a Government with steel and the determination to tackle crime and which is committed from day one, to making law and order and the protection of its people its top priority.

“That is why today the Christian Heritage Party gives New Zealanders five pledges. In our first 100 days we will use our MPs to fight for:

1) A Government that will give the police and the courts all the necessary resources that they need to protect the law-abiding citizens of this country.
2) A Government that will ensure that the police put the heat of 24 hour a day constant surveillance onto the worst 10% of criminals who cause 90% of the crimes.
3) A Government that will ensure crime never pays by making sentences so tough that they actually fit the crime and by making certain that all criminals sentenced for violent crime serve out their full sentence.
4) A Government that will make criminals pay proper restitution to their victims.
5) A Government which sets up an Anti-crime Summit to agree to an Action Plan to reduce crime rates by 50% over the next three years.

“To ensure that the families of tomorrow have better opportunities we must first deal with the lawlessness facing our country and re-establish the safe and secure and protected environment for which New Zealand was once renowned,” said Mr Capill.

Contact: Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766

1. British Home Office figures show that with 1121 violent crimes per 100,000 people New Zealand is ahead of Canada with 979, Australia at 861 and even the USA at 610. Spain, France and Italy record only a quarter of the violent crime rate found in NZ. (Source: “A People at War with Ourselves’, NZ Herald, 21 August 1999)

2. Over 80% of New Zealanders are demanding that violent criminals face tougher sentences and be made to serve out their entire sentences. “A Herald-DigiPoll survey which asked people about penalties for violence returned 84.5% in favour of tougher sentences and 88.3% said violent offenders should serve their entire sentence. (Source: ‘Lock Violent Criminals Up Longer, says Majority’ NZ Herald 28 August 1999)

3. Studies from both Victoria and Otago Universities show that only a fraction of the violence in the community turns up on police files. “What the criminologists call this ‘dark figure’ of unreported violence was also discovered by the researchers responsible for the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which has followed the lives of 1037 men and women born in that city between April 1972 and March 1973. Interviewed at age 21, 45% of the men and 25% of the women said they had been the victim of at least one physical assault in the previous year. Most were not reported to the police.” (Source: “A People at War with Ourselves” NZ Herald, 21 August 1999)

4. Senior Constable Nick Tuitasi, who won a Queen’s Service Medal last year for his community approach to reducing violent crime … said at the time that police had known for a long time that ‘10% of the people commit 90% of the crime. If you can get through to these people you are in a position to change society for years to come.” (Source: ‘MP Targets Handful of Criminals’, NZ Herald 20 January 1999)

5. “… reported crimes for the country dropped 2.2% … Overall reports of violent crime increased slightly by 0.1% … Since June 1990 violent offences (have) actually increased by 95% … The burglary resolution rate has fallen even further to just 11.1%.” (Source: ‘NZ Drop in Crime Bypasses the North’, NZ Herald 13 October 1999)

6. According to a Herald-DigiPoll Survey of people’s perceptions of violence in NZ:
 57.9% of women said they would never walk alone in their neighbourhood at night.
 Only 16.0% of women and 22.7% of men felt completely safe from violence.
 61% of New Zealanders agree this country is much more violent than it was 10 years ago.

(Sources: ‘Paradise Lost to Thugs and Bashers’, NZ Herald 21 August 1999 and ‘Fear of Attack Stalks Big City’, NZ Herald 26 August 1999)

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