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Labour lets crims keep more illegal assets

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

31 October 2006

Labour lets crims keep more illegal assets

The value of assets the Government is confiscating under the Proceeds of Crime Act is dropping despite the number of cases increasing, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing figures that show that despite the number of cases doubling to 41 since 2002/03, the total value seized is one third of what it was, dropping from $3.6 million to $1 million. At the same time, the average value of each seizure has dropped from $183,313 to $24,687.

“It is clear the system is not working, so where is the new legislation Labour has been promising us?”

In June last year, the Labour Government introduced the Criminal Proceeds and Instruments Bill to replace the Proceeds of Crime Act. It was to introduce a civil forfeiture regime that forced criminals to prove all their property was not the proceeds of crime once a court decided it probably was.

Justice Minister Phil Goff said at the time that the retrospective legislation would ‘have an immediate impact’ and would recover an estimated $14 million a year.

“But, despite all his bluster, it sank without trace,” says Mr Power. “In fact, it did not even have a first reading, mysteriously being discharged exactly one year later on a day when Parliament was not sitting.

“Perhaps the new Minister, Mark Burton, might like to explain this softening in Government policy.

“Helen Clark is very quick to blame the rise in crime on the increasing methamphetamine epidemic but her Government is doing nothing about seizing assets to help put a stop to it.

“Like tougher sentences, this is another example of Phil Goff’s work in the law and order portfolio being unravelled by Labour’s liberal Left.”

ENDS

For annual figures on proceeds of crime go to: Appendix B – Table 1 @
http://www.national.org.nz/files/Power_Proceeds.xls

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