INDEPENDENT NEWS

Toughening Up Comes With Serious Trade-Off

Published: Tue 7 Aug 2001 04:55 PM
The Minister of Justice's new sentencing and parole laws will not satisfy the public as the provisions will only apply to our worst criminals and not to drug traffickers, career burglars and drivers who kill, National's Justice spokesperson Dr Wayne Mapp said today.
"Today's proposed laws tabled in Parliament are a step in the right direction but what are the trade-offs? Phil Goff has lost to Matt Robson on tougher parole laws for the likes of drug traffickers and career burglars. The preventive detention provisions will still be difficult to apply in practice. There is no guarantee that a repeat offenders will be automatically considered for preventive detention.
"Career burglars and drug traffickers will be eligible for parole at one-third of the way through their sentences. This is not what the public expected from Mr Goff's tough pre-election stand.
"Over 90% of the public that supported the Withers' referendum will be disappointed. New Zealanders did not vote for the Government to do only half the job with its tougher sentencing reforms. National will give this legislation the closest possible scrutiny.
"Mr Goff has been providing mixed messages. For example, Mr Goff has endorsed the Law Commission's report that would see radical changes to the laws of self-defence, changing the defence from imminent threats to inevitable threats. That raises the spectre of pre-emptive killings and sends a weak signal to reducing violence.
"Today's announcement does not satisfy the public's referendum plea for tougher sentences. It is not good enough that some serious criminals will be getting off lightly as a trade-off for toughening up on the most violent offenders," Dr Mapp said.
Ends

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