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ACT Welcomes Move To Deliver On Law And Order Promise

ACT Justice spokesman Todd Stephenson is welcoming the Justice Minister’s announcement of an end to taxpayer funding for cultural background (Section 27) reports.

“Finally, the scales of justice are shifting away from rights for criminals and back toward rights for victims,” says Mr Stephenson.

“In 2022 a man who punched a pregnant woman unconscious was let out on home detention, because a cultural background report found he hadn’t been properly introduced to his whakapapa. The woman he punched was pregnant with the man’s seventeenth child.

“In 2021 a man received a 10 per cent reduction in his sentence for beating, strangling, and threatening to kill his ex, despite the Judge describing the cultural report as being of ‘limited value as it consisted mainly of observations by others and little from [the offender] himself’.

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“Last year ACT revealed taxpayers forked out $7.56 million to produce cultural reports for criminals in just 12 months – a 27 percent increase on the year prior.

“ACT has pushed to scrap Section 27 reports entirely. The reports elevate the excuses of the criminal when we should be centring the impacts on the victim.

“ACT’s coalition agreement secured the defunding of Section 27 reports and exploring further reform of how these reports are used. We also secured the commitment to abolish Labour’s prisoner reduction target and reform the Sentencing Act 2002 to give greater weight to the needs of victims and communities over offenders.”

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