New Zealand’s news headlines lately could be out of the L. A. Times, with ramraids, gang violence, youth crime and gun crime becoming a daily occurrence. The crimes are increasing brazen, such as robbing jewellery stores with a hammer in broad daylight.
People are increasingly feeling less safe in their communities and a recent TVNZ poll showed 70 per cent of New Zealanders think the Government isn’t doing enough to deal with gangs. I’ve been talking to people in my community in West Auckland who have been intimidated by gang members and people around the country tell me it’s time for real and meaningful change.
I’ve seen processions of gang members on bikes in my community and witnessed police chases and armed police responding to violence.
These hardened criminals were in all probability once young criminals committing lower level crime.
ACT’s most recent policy document tackles law and order, an area where the Government’s beltway ideology has failed and people on main street are feeling real consequences.
Labour has been getting criminals and victims mixed up. Now we’re feeling the consequence of having no consequences for crime. It’s time for solutions and to put victims back at the centre of our justice system and marginalising criminals.
On Tuesday the Prime Minister said in Parliament she “disputed the suggestion that overall we have a proliferation of criminal acts by young people because there has not been evidence to suggest that.” Then the Police Minister revealed there had been 129 ram raids in only three months committed by young people, how’s that for evidence?
An example of Labour’s ideology taking precedence over safety was when they recently repealed Three Strikes laws. You can say what you like about Three Strikes, but here’s what removing it means.
Until Labour removed the law, people with previous “strikes” were heading for a maximum sentence if they committed another violent or sexual offence. Now they don’t have to worry about getting the max.
This sends signals to the public, including the criminal community. You can’t blame wayward youth for giving crime a chance when the Government is softening the consequences of it for the worst of the worst offenders.
ACT recognises the need for practical solutions and has proposed policy aimed at tackling crime. For example:
· Gang Injunction Orders
· Turning Inland Revenue on the gangs
· A Member’s Bill that would have delivered the tools to crack down on gangs and illegal firearm use (and still will under a new Government)
· Electronically monitored spending for gang members on welfare
· Restricting the use of electronic bail, while dropping the target for lower prison numbers
· Infringement notices for youth offenders, leading to instant, practical penalties instead of justice delayed
· Introducing Three Strikes for burglary, recognising it is a recidivist crime
· Financial reparations made by the Crown, so victims don’t have to watch their attacker putting 65 cents a week in their account for 10 years
We’ve also announced policies in years past that we stand by such as increasing police in line with the population, no parole unless rehabilitation has been done, and an Independent Review of the IPCA.
It’s time we sent a message to New Zealand that crime will be punished, that if you’re willing to take part in rehabilitation you will be given another chance but most importantly that victims are at the heart of the justice system.