11 February 2004
New Young Offenders Law On The Way Warns Mark
New Zealand First law and order spokesperson Ron Mark is introducing a Private Members bill to help stop young offenders
from developing into hardened criminals as is happening under the Government’s current ‘soft ‘ policies towards youth
“Young people who do wrong are being given endless understanding, compassion and sympathy and this ignores the need to
face up to their mistakes. As a result they go on to becoming adult offenders,” Mr Mark.
“The present leniency of the courts towards young offenders is not in society’s best interest long term and this needs
to be rectified.
“As one who personally has faced the crossroads between a life of crime or one of making a worthwhile and positive
contribution to society, I feel I can speak from experience and knowledge on this issue.
“If a short sharp jolt does not follow the first sign of offending, we run the real risk of losing the opportunity
forever and yet another young offender is soon serving an apprenticeship to become a more serious adult criminal.
“I am introducing a Private Members Bill designed to:
(a) Amend the legal position of children who commit serious offences;
(b) Amend the range of ‘serious offences’ carried out by young offenders;
(c) Remove the present protection enjoyed by young offenders preventing them from being held to account for criminal
(d) Reduce the age of responsibility for serious offending by youths to 10 years of age
“It is time to treat seriously those young people who elect to embark upon a path of crime, and it is our responsibility
as politicians to deter them as quickly and effectively as possible,” concluded Mr Mark