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Government To Introduce Revised Three Strikes Law

Hon Nicole McKee
Associate Minister of Justice

The Government is delivering on its commitment to bring back the Three Strikes legislation, Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee announced today.

“Our Government is committed to restoring law and order and enforcing appropriate consequences on criminals. We are making it clear that repeat serious violent or sexual offending is not acceptable in our society,” Nicole McKee says.

"New Zealanders are rightly concerned about violent crime in our country. Everyone in New Zealand has the right to feel safe in their homes, businesses and communities.

“This Government will ensure that sentencing for repeat offending properly recognises the harm caused to victims and communities. That is why we are bringing back a revised Three Strikes law.

“We are making changes to create a more workable regime and also to address issues that arose under the previous law, such as capturing minor offending.

Today's announcement provides details of the Government's plans for a revised Three Strikes law. Introduced in the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010, the previous Three Strikes legislation was repealed in 2022.

The new regime will:

  • Cover the same 40 serious violent and sexual offences as the former legislation, with the addition of the new strangulation and suffocation offence;
  • Introduce a new requirement that the Three Strikes law will only apply to sentences above 24 months;
  • Extend the use of the “manifestly unjust” exception to allow some judicial discretion to avoid very harsh outcomes and address outlier cases;
  • Provide a limited benefit for guilty pleas to avoid re-traumatisation of victims, and to improve court delays; and
  • See that people who commit murder at second or third strike receive an appropriately lengthy non-parole period.
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"We are sending a strong message that repeat offending will not be tolerated," Nicole McKee says.

"This is a priority for the Government and continues the progress we have already made on restoring law and order, through changes to repeal the funding for section 27 reports and measures to crack down on gangs."

The Minister intends to bring a draft bill and paper to Cabinet by the end of June, and to introduce the bill to the House soon after that.

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