Going soft on crime
National is concerned about the ArdernPeters government going soft on crime.
It has clearly indicated its intentions to loosen up our bail, parole and sentencing laws, and to release more serious offenders back into the community. They won’t be building the new Waikeria Prison, despite all the evidence showing we are running out of beds to accommodate our rising prison population.
The government wants to reduce prison numbers by a third, but without a plan to reduce serious crime, the only way it will be able do that will be by letting more offenders out on our streets. No government wants to build prisons, but when you’re faced with an increase in serious crime, reality means it is necessary in order to protect our communities. That must always be the priority.
National responded to public safety concerns and tightened up our bail laws in 2013. Because my early career was spent as a frontline policeman, I feel strongly about people feeling safe in their homes and on the streets.
We also implemented the Three Strikes law, which gives judges the ability to put the worst offenders away for the maximum sentence without parole on their third conviction. This law is reserved for the most serious and recidivist offenders, who shouldn’t be able to keep blowing their chances by committing more crimes against innocent people.
Labour wants to reverse our bail law changes and get rid of the Three Strikes law, supported by NZ First, even though NZ First has previously campaigned on introducing Three Strikes legislation and stiffer punishments for serious offenders.
The rise in the prison population is not because of tougher bail laws or Three Strikes — it’s because of the actions of serious criminals who are being dealt with seriously by police and judges. Despite what the government and soft on crime activists might have you believe, our prisoners haven’t just stolen a chocolate bar or tagged on a building. The truth is, 98 per cent of people in our prisons are there for the most serious and violent crimes, including aggravated assaults, sexual violence and murder. These people will be let loose on our communities if we don’t have enough capacity in our prison system with softening bail, parole and sentencing laws.
The government’s headline target to reduce the prison population by 30 per doesn’t stack up without new initiatives or targets to reduce crime. They seem to think making it easier for offenders to get out of prison, or harder to get there in the first place, is the answer to achieving its goal.
As National leader Simon Bridges has said, the measure of success must be to reduce the number of victims, not the number of prisoners. If we can do the former we achieve the latter. But this government has no plan to reduce crime. Its decision to ignore the need for a new prison and its stated intention to let more prisoners out will just make New Zealanders less safe.
National won’t let that happen without a fight. Please continue to give me your feedback on this important issue.
" No government wants to build prisons, but when you’re faced with an increase in serious crime, reality means it is necessary . . . "