“A leaked email shows Labour has its values all wrong. The Government has run out of room to put dangerous criminals because it doesn’t want to build more prisons or put people behind bars”, says ACT Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.
“Kelvin Davis’ decision to shy away from building new prisons was naïve and dangerous.
“In 2018, Labour decided to build a 500-bed prison at Waikeria instead of the 2000-3000 bed prison proposed by the previous government.
“Kelvin Davis said at the time: ‘Our ambition is to reduce the prison population by 30% over 15 years so we're not looking at expansion plans whatsoever.’
“Now, Police officers are being told to consider whether arresting someone is necessary given Rimutaka prison is nearly full.
“Police are questioning how they are supposed to keep New Zealanders safe. One staff member said: ‘I have no idea what the threshold is for being held in police custody now.’
“The Government’s first job is to keep law-abiding New Zealanders safe from criminals. That means having enough room in our prisons to incapacitate dangerous people.
“Imagine working late in your dairy. You’ve been attacked before. You know the government has run out of places to put criminals. Where are your rights? Where is your safety?
“Labour’s decision not to expand prison capacity was naïve and dangerous. It will make New Zealanders less safe.
“Labour came to office promising to scrap longer sentences for repeat violent and sexual offenders, reduce prison numbers by 30%, and not build any more prisons.
“No rational person can look at that record and say Labour is not soft on crime.
“Kiri Allan, Ginny Andersen, and Kelvin Davis need to do their first and most important job and keep New Zealanders safe from violent thugs.”