Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Free Press, 15 November 2021


THE HAPS 

All the polls say the same thing. The gap between left and right is closing fast. At the election it was 25 points, now it is 8. For the first time since the GFC, a majority say New Zealand is headed in the wrong direction. The Government now faces a more complicated COVID challenge than before, with less room to borrow and print their way out of trouble. The smart money is now on the right overtaking the left in 2022.

THREE STRIKES 

The best lawyers become judges. Law schools are already filled with students from private and high decile state schools, and the kind of legal career that makes you a judge doesn’t hurt your bank balance either.

Judges are also highly intelligent and trained in reasoning. In their career as lawyers before they become judges, their job is to find believable explanations for unbelievable situations.

 None of this is to take away from Judges. They are good people committed to public service, and we’re lucky to live in a country where you can rely on a good court system. In most of the world at most points in history, that has not been the case. Without justice, safety depends on being bigger or more cunning than your opponent.

That doesn’t mean Judges are perfect, or without biases. On average, and of course there are exceptions, judges are highly intelligent, well-heeled people who can afford homes with security gates and insurance in neighbourhoods where there isn’t much crime anyway. Things usually turn out well in their lives so they’re prone to optimism.

When a criminal comes before them for sentencing, they don’t feel the fear of someone who lives next to a Kāinga Ora home with gang members. They can understand the chain of unfortunate events that many criminals have for a life history, and reason their way through it. They tend to look on the sunny side of life, and hope that life will be turned around.

That’s why the people of New Zealand, through ACT, voted for Three Strikes. As a side note, success has many fathers and failure is an orphan. Back in 2010, John Key’s National Party had to be dragged kicking and screaming by ACT to implement Three Strikes. Like charter schools, National will now claim Three Strikes is the best idea it ever had. We digress.

Most of us aren’t judges, we just want the worst crims locked up. We don’t mind giving people a second chance, maybe even a third chance, but we don’t think they deserve a fourth chance. That’s why we have three strikes.

One serious violent or sexual offence might be a regrettable mistake. Perhaps even two, at a pinch. It makes sense to rehabilitate people if they can be rehabilitated. For them, for the taxpayer, and for everyone, because even the longest sentence ends eventually. But at some point, rehab don’t work. Ain’t worth it.

After three serious violent or sexual offences, it is time to throw away the key. That’s what the majority of New Zealanders believe. If judges agreed, the three strikes law would be unnecessary, because they’d be throwing away the key on the worst of the worst already.

If you doubt that third strikers are the worst of the worst, here are some numbers. The average third striker hasn’t committed just three crimes. The average third striker has 74 convictions. How you get 74 convictions in one lifetime is a mystery to Free Press, but prison sounds like the right place for them.

After 10 years of three strikes, 13,349 have had a first strike but only 21 people have made it to their third strike. They’ve managed to commit a serious offence, go to jail, get out, commit a second, go to jail, get out, and commit a third in just over 10 years. They are speed crims, aided and abetted by weak sentencing.

That fact that’s possible shows why we need tougher sentencing laws, but it also shows that the law hasn’t started to work yet. If it doesn’t deter those 13,349 first strikers from committing more serious offences, then it will ensure they go away for a long time.

It is difficult to harm the public from a prison cell, and the main point of Three Strikes is to get the worst of the worst off the streets. At this point, there hasn’t been enough time for the law to take effect.

Now, with everything going on in New Zealand, Labour’s priority is giving crims and early Christmas present. While the rest of New Zealand has no idea what Christmas holds under a Government that never prepared for Delta, at least we know there’ll be more creeps on the streets under Labour.

Please support ACT to fight this madness.