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Rushed Prisoner Compo Law Dangerous, Says Nandor

4 October 2004
Rushed prisoner compo law dangerous, says Nandor

Green MP Nandor Tanczos says the Government's proposals to control prisoner compensation are political crisis management that may have dangerous unintended ramifications for justice in New Zealand.

Justice Minister Phil Goff announced today a package of proposals designed to limit the circumstances where prisoners can claim compensation and to make it easier for victims to claim a share of any windfalls offenders come by.

"These proposals are a classic example of a Government scrambling to head off political damage," said Nandor, the Green Party's Justice Spokesperson.

"The Government needs to get something introduced into the House as quickly as possible so as to cut off the mounting claims for compensation by prisoners who have been mistreated. The problem is that these proposals entail significant policy work that, by rights, should take many months, if not years, to be developed.

"As we've seen with the Foreshore and Seabed fiasco, 'quick and dirty' law is dangerous.

"The Government's approach seems to be opening the door to a more Americanised system of justice, where litigation takes the place of the criminal law. I do not think that is where New Zealanders want our justice system to go.

"Of particular concern is the proposed new 'independent body' to hear victims' claims. It is unclear whether we are looking at a new court, whether it means a lower threshold of proof, and how it will work. This is not the kind of significant new jurisdiction to develop on the hoof," said Nandor.

ENDS


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