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‘Window-dressing’ Nat's don't tackle issues

Hon Phil Goff
Leader of the Labour Party

12 December 2008 Media Statement

‘Window-dressing’ National doesn’t have a 100-day plan to tackle issues that matter to Kiwis

Labour Leader Phil Goff says legislation being rushed through Parliament under urgency, including the Bail Amendment Bill, the Sentencing Amendment Bill and the Education (National Standards) Amendment Bill, amount to nothing more than window-dressing.

“The Bail and Sentencing Bills will have at the very best a marginal impact on community safety,” he said.

“That’s not simply the opinion of Labour. It’s the opinion of independent experts like Otago University law professor Geoff Hall, who specialises in sentencing and criminal law. Professor Hall has explicitly described the Sentencing amendments as window-dressing.”

Phil Goff said National’s problem was that it promised a 100-day comprehensive action plan to tackle the issues that matter to New Zealanders. “National promised a dramatic 100 days in office, but it has no plan to make a real difference. It has no economic plan, and it certainly has no plan on law and order.

“After nine years in opposition they are making it up as they go along, and it’s not impressive.”

Mr Goff said: “We’re in urgency and the Government is breaking constitutional and democratic conventions by not submitting legislation to select committee scrutiny or allowing the public to make submissions.

“And it’s all happening for no good cause, but simply to create a perception that the Government is doing something. Well, in terms of the Bail Bill, nothing much at all will happen. Labour’s briefing from the Ministry of Justice told us that about 10 more prison beds might be needed next year under this plan, and 40 more by 2011. Just 10 more people, and yet legislation is being passed under urgency,

“This legislation won’t make a single New Zealanders safer in their home tomorrow or next year,” he said.

“If National really wanted to do something of substance in law and order, it would bring into effect by Order-in-Council Labour’s 2007 legislation requiring a minimum two-thirds parole, and it would build on Labour’s early intervention initiatives to stop child abuse.

“But those initiatives are real and would cost money, so National won’t follow through on them. Instead it puts forward window-dressing and flim flam that won’t make a difference.”


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