Winston Peters
Leader of New Zealand First

Labour have made it clear that the law-and-order strategy they are committing to is the same strategy they have had over the past few years that has created our country’s current state of lawlessness – empty the prisons, put offenders first, and put the community and victims last.

Regrettably, Justice Minister Kiri Allen has perfectly outlined the government’s penchant for justifying keeping criminals out of prison with no regard to the community or social costs. There has been a massive increase in crime, gangs, firearm incidents, youth crime, ram raids, violent crime, and general lawlessness. All the while Labour clings on to a reduction in prison numbers as being a ‘measurement of success’.

New Zealanders can see the outcome of Labour’s approach to criminals is a failure. The social costs have been devastating to small businesses, communities, and law-abiding kiwis who no longer feel safe on our streets. 

Sadly, the National Party’s ‘tough on crime’ policy announcement is nothing of the sort. It is just the continuation of beating around the bush when it comes to courts enforcing proper sentences for criminals. We do not need National’s ‘faux policy’ for courts to just ‘consider’ when sentencing criminals. We need courts to deliver on the intent of our sentencing laws – to keep our community safe and ensure justice and accountability is the priority. This means minimum mandatory sentences and to have in law what the courts must prioritise when sentencing criminals. 

National’s new policy of limiting reductions of sentences to a maximum of 40 per cent is sadly an implicit admission that they are happy with courts to deliver just 60 per cent of the intent of the original law. If the courts are discounting sentences too much now, this is just giving them a new ‘go-to’ default sentencing term. How is this being ‘tough on crime’?

The Courts are there to facilitate the intention of the laws of parliament on behalf of the people of our country – not the other way around. 

The people of New Zealand want to feel safe and protected and want to see offenders off our streets, out of our community, and held to account. 

Labour’s current ‘hug and mug of milo’ approach has created this mess and National’s lip-service to a ‘tough on crime’ approach doesn’t nearly go far enough.

We should be enforcing not diluting the law.

This article is a press release that has been published in full and un-edited by The BFD.