“Crime is out of control because of the messages Labour has sent to criminals. No one trusts Labour to to tackle crime – least of all the criminals themselves. Labour has reduced the amount of criminals in prison, repealed ACT’s Three Strikes law, seen gang member increase at double the rate of police, and facilitated a catch and release youth justice system.

“This approach can’t continue. Almost one in three adults have been a victim of crime in the past 12 months.

“Labour’s approach to law and order was developed around ‘kindness’, but they were misguided and applied it to criminals more than victims. There’s nothing kind about allowing people to commit crimes and never learn the consequences. To stop the cycle of reoffending, it is important that prisons are truly rehabilitative — so that offenders walk out of prison better than the person they were when they walked in. Condemning offenders to a life of crime benefits no one. 

“ACT will ensure tougher sentences for serious crimes, invest in increasing the capacity of the prison system, and ensure that prisons are truly rehabilitating. Most of all, we will put victims back in the centre of the justice system.

ACT will:

  • Reform the reparations system so that the Crown faces the burden of risk of slow reparation payments or nonpayments, rather than the victims of crime.
  • Impose tougher sentences for crimes on vulnerable workers, amending the Sentencing Act so that judges must take into account the fact that a serious violent offence occurred against a worker during their course of work as an aggravating factor and removing the role of cultural reports in sentencing decisions.
  • Clarify that judges are to impose the least restrictive outcome that does not impose a disproportionate risk to the community, and that they must not only consider the historical impacts of the offending on the victim, but also consider any present risks the sentence may impose on the victim.
  • Invest $1 billion to build an additional 500 prison beds and ensure there is sufficient capacity for dangerous people to be locked away from law-abiding New Zealanders.
  • Improve the information available to judges on the risks of re-offending.
  • Reinstate Three Strikes.
  • Show a clear pathway of consequences for young offenders, from instant practical penalties to ankle bracelets
  • Fund the construction of 200 new youth justice beds, managed by Corrections.
  • Repeal changes that came into force in 2019 that expanded the youth justice jurisdiction to include 17 year olds.
  • Instantly disqualify gang members from holding a firearms licence and increase Police’s power to seize assets of gang members found with illegal firearms.
  • Use Inland Revenue’s powers to investigate gang members’ incomes.
  • Require individuals to complete skills or rehabilitation programmes prior to being considered for parole.

“A compassionate Government looks to protect those who might find themselves to be victims first, and then aims to rehabilitate offenders. That is what ACT is proposing.

“ACT believes protecting the safety and property of New Zealanders is the government’s first and most important job. Our policies restore balance to a system that has become too focussed on criminals instead of victims.

“ACT’s policies have real consequences, that will mean real change in the safety of communities.”

ACT's policy document is here.

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