INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour Prepares To Lock Prisoner Compo Into Law

Published: Mon 13 Dec 2004 12:16 AM
Don Brash MP
National Party Leader
13 December 2004
Labour prepares to lock prisoner compo into law
National Party Leader Don Brash is today urging the Labour Government to reconsider his offer to stop prisoner compensation claims once and for all.
"National offered support to stop, block and wipe prisoner compensation for things like 'hurt feelings', making the legislation retrospective in a handful of cases if necessary.
"Labour has not consulted National while drafting the legislation being introduced this week, but it appears the Government is still prepared to tolerate compensation in 'exceptional cases'. Lawyers already claim many prisoners will fall into that category.
"National is outraged that Labour is giving the green light for compensation to be paid out to some of our worst rapists and murderers.
"Given the much broader scope of Phil Goff's overly-complicated legislation, it's highly likely there will also be 'unintended consequences'.
"Why else would it be introduced in the rush before Christmas? This is what Labour usually does with issues that it doesn't want New Zealanders looking at too closely," says Dr Brash.
"If Labour had accepted National's offer of help, prisoner compensation would already be frozen.
"As it stands, the Government is about to condemn the victims of crime to reliving their worst nightmares in court and some will have to confront their worst demons all over again.
"Judges are being put in the position where they will have to decide which victim deserves the most. We may even end up seeing family members pitted against one another in court, fighting for a share of one inmate's compensation.
"National will study the legislation carefully to ensure that it meets victims' expectations.
"Unless Phil Goff's had a radical change of heart, this legislation won't fix anything. It locks taxpayers and victims into a never-ending cycle of compensation and legal challenges.
"National is today urging Labour to reconsider the offer to work together to stop, block and wipe prisoner compensation claims once and for all," says Dr Brash.
Ends

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