Focus on crime and the courts pays off
MP for Taupo
Often when I hold constituent clinics in Tokoroa, or I am out and about in the local community talking to people at events, one of the biggest issues people want to talk to me about is crime.
We all deserve to feel safe in our homes and communities.
I’m proud that this Government is staying tough on crime, with the latest statistics showing another drop in the crime rate, down 5.9 per cent for the June 2012 year. We put 600 extra police on the beat, and we have invested in rehabilitation and reintegration to reduce reoffending.
National has focused resources on frontline policing and crime prevention.
These initiatives allow police to spend more time in their communities, and focus the justice system on victims. We’ve set four better public services targets to help reduce crime, and lead to 45,000 fewer victims by 2017.
We introduced the Offender Levy to fund more services and support for victims of crime, and we have introduced legislation to reduce unnecessary parole hearings and the stress they cause victims.
We’ve also delivered on our election promise to better protect the public from serious sexual or violent offenders through the Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill, which will allow the High Court to detain these offenders.
Six-monthly data on court appearances and sentencing shows fewer criminal charges are being laid, and fewer people are appearing in court.
With crime falling to record lows, and the number of people coming to court decreasing, we are now working on improving how the county’s 63 District Courts are administered, and modernising services to be more in line with public expectations.
We want to move from a system focused on paper and buildings to one which makes the best use of new technology.
Fines can already be paid online, and soon judges will be able to manage criminal cases electronically, meaning charges will be processed up to 70 per cent faster, and Ministry of Justice staff and police will save more than 90,000 hours a year.
Changes to the court network will also involve nine small courts being used as hearing-only courts – rather than being open five days a week – and four small courts being closed.
These changes have been made possible by our success in reducing crime and seeing fewer people in our courts, as well as the increased use of modern technology.
National promised to build a safer New Zealand, and we are delivering on that promise.
Here in South Waikato we are fortunate to have many groups and individuals passionate about lowering crime and keeping the community safe, I’d like to thank you for all of your hard work.
For more information, assistance with an issue, or to share your views with me, email Upston.firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Vivian in the electorate office on 07 886 5554.