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Just 1 In 6 Oppose ‘Three Strikes’ - Poll

A poll last August found that just 16% of New Zealanders oppose bringing back the ‘Three Strikes’ law.

The nationwide poll of 1,000 New Zealanders was commissioned by Family First NZ and carried out by Curia Market Research. Respondents were asked “Since 2010, New Zealand has had a 'Three Strikes' sentencing law for serious violent and sexual offenders who continue to commit offences. This law removed parole eligibility for repeat offenders and imposes the maximum prison term available for the offence committed, for those who offend a third or subsequent time. The law was repealed last year. Do you support or oppose bringing back the Three Strikes Law?”

Only 16% oppose bringing back the law (down from 25% in a similar poll of respondents in 2021).

Two in three Kiwis (65%) support the reinstatement of the law (up from 44% in 2021) and 19% are unsure (down from 31% unsure in 2021).

Support for the law was relatively even across gender and age.

National (72%), Labour (63%), NZ First (93%) and ACT (90%) voters were strongly supportive, and even Green voters were more in support (41%) than opposed (39%). Net support for the law to remain is: National voters +57 (up from +45% in 2022), ACT +85% (up from +40%), Labour +46 (up from +17%) and Greens +2 (down from +7%).

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“The Labour government had no public mandate for scrapping it, and the evidence suggests that the law was having the desired effect. There had been a dramatic drop from the number of 1st strikes to 2nd strikes and then again to a third strike. Criminals aren’t stupid. They are well aware of the law and its consequences. When the regime was scrapped, the government sent a message that we’re not serious about the It’s Not OK zero-tolerance message on family violence, or zero tolerance on gun violence or sexual violence, in fact violence in general. The Three Strikes law reinforces that we take victimisations seriously,” says Bob McCoskrie, CEO of Family First NZ.

An Official Information Act request at the end of 2018 said that for 2nd and 3rd strikers:

  • they had an average of 42 convictions as an adult. For 3rd strikers, it’s an average of 74 convictions
  • 91% were assessed as being at a high risk of reoffending
  • 56% committed their 2nd strike on bail or parole or while serving a sentence.
  • 40% have a “strike type” conviction from prior to the three strikes regime

“This data indicates that the three strikes regime was accurately targeting the serious recidivist offenders, and that is why there has been such a strong surge of support for the law since we last polled on this issue.”

The nationwide poll was carried out at the end of August 2023 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

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