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Law & order: Labour copycats ignore big picture

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

6 November 2008

Law & order: Labour copycats ignore big picture

Labour’s sole big law and order announcement of the election – a steal of National’s prisons policy – is too little and too late, says National’s Justice and Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“Just 36 hours before election day, all they can come up with is a copy of National’s policy and promises to implement legislation they’ve been talking about for at least three years.

“And that’s it.

“Where are the initiatives to tackle all the other problems in law and order?

“One half of Phil Goff’s announcement is almost an exact copy of National’s policies regarding prisoner rehabilitation, while the other half is a promise to implement legislation around contraband that they’ve been promising for years:

Last year they promised to pass the Corrections Amendment Bill No 2 to help stop contraband getting into prisons, but now they’re promising it for next year. In 1999 the law was changed to allow all prisoners' calls to be monitored, but Labour didn’t get around to starting it until this year, despite the Corrections Department warning back in 2004 that it had still ‘not been operationalised … due to a lack of funding’. In the middle of last year they said all prisons would have cellphone-blocking technology within a year, but in September only four prisons had it and now they’re promising it ‘by the first quarter of 2009’.

“And the mental health screening tool they’re promising was previously rejected because they wouldn’t give it funding.

“Labour have also failed to deliver on promises on gangs, youth crime, domestic violence, victim compensation, and even a credible plan to combat crime.
“But it’s their failure to come up with new initiatives to tackle violent crime that should be of most concern.

“Last year violent crime increased by a whopping 11% to 58,000 offences, and is now 47% higher than when Labour first came to office.

“Anyone would think things were going well, but the reality is sadly very different.

“Last year there were 5,000 grievous assaults (13 a day), 17,700 serious assaults (48), 12,600 intimidation and threats (34), and 2,600 robberies (7 a day).

“This country is desperate for an action plan on law and order – and it’s clear Labour doesn’t have one.

“National has a plan that will take the steps needed to start addressing the challenge of escalating violent crime.”

See National’s Action Plan for Violent Crime at: http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleId=28857

ENDS

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