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Richard Worth's NewsWorthy : 9 Nov. 2007 – No. 231

Richard Worth MP - NewsWorthy Column
9 November 2007 – No. 231

Deoxyribonucleic Acid capture

Last year, on average, six New Zealand police officers were assaulted every day. That number is higher than at any time in New Zealand’s history.

Weapons, such as firearms or guns, were used in 88 of those assaults. That is a sad indictment on the state of our society and a chilling reminder that the fight against crime is far from over.

Some 11,000 more violent offences occurred last year than in 1999. A violent offence, such as a grievous assault or robbery, now occurs every 10 minutes. There’s a sexual attack every four hours and a robbery every three and a half hours.

The size of the criminal threat is measurable not only by crime statistics, but by the widespread fears of everyday New Zealanders that our society is not safe.

Two of the announced initiatives are significant. Perhaps the first is not surprising.

Increasingly, police are confronted with out-of-control offenders, high on drugs and unaware of their surroundings, who are near impossible to stop.

Police need another non-lethal means for dealing with these offenders. Tasers are the obvious answer.

The recent trial showed that in most cases where a Taser was drawn, the offender was ‘laser painted’. Though drawn 120 times, Tasers were discharged only 19 times throughout the trial.

The more significant policy announcement is to require DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) samples to be taken from all those arrested for a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment.

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Invariably at a physical crime scene traces of blood, semen, hair etc can be found.

DNA is the 21st century fingerprint. DNA profiling is a highly effective tool for identifying and catching criminals. On the flipside, it is also an invaluable tool for exonerating the innocent.

The UK experience is that DNA sampling has produced a database of immense value for identifying offenders.

The plight of an Indian trade delegation

It is fashionable (and correct) to identify the significant opportunities of developing trade with India. As a Labour Government Minister recently said:

The scale of India can be hard for Kiwis to grasp. Its tertiary institutions – for example - produce over 100,000 engineering and two million non-engineering graduates a year. That’s half of New Zealand’s population graduating annually.
Understanding and embracing India’s emergence, however, is vital to our interests and future prosperity.

So it was bad news for this country when a delegation sponsored by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) had their meeting plans in New Zealand frustrated when Immigration New Zealand declined visa applications for 20 persons who had applied several weeks earlier.

New Zealand generally has visa free arrangements with other countries – India, China and Philippines are exceptions. It is arguable whether there is a justification for such exceptions but leave that aside.

As the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce pointed out we are wanting to grow bilateral trade, negotiate a free-trade agreement between India and New Zealand, and to access even greater numbers of skilled Indian workers to help our serious skills deficit, yet on the other hand a large number of senior Indian business representatives were told they are not welcome to visit.

The New Zealand Government is unrepentant. Early statements of regret have been replaced by unequivocal assertions of correct procedures.

Political Quote of the Week
"I don’t mind how much my Ministers talk, so long as they do what I say." Margaret Thatcher – British Prime Minister (1979-1990)

Dr Richard Worth
National Party MP

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