“Attorney-General David Parker is unaware that his own party has a goal to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.
“Asked today whether that policy was consistent with the Justice Minister’s promise to take a ‘victim-centric’ approach, Parker said Labour has never had that goal.
“But Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said in a 2018 press statement “Our goal is to reduce New Zealand’s prison population by 30 per cent over the next 15 years. To achieve this, we need to ensure there are safe and effective alternatives to prison, while also reducing crime and re-offending.” And has stood by it in the media ever since.
“I know things are bad inside Labour’s Cabinet, but perhaps the two should talk.
“Between January 2017 and December 2022, there was a:
- 7 per cent increase in acts intended to cause injury, or 20,913 more a year
- 121 per cent increase in serious assaults resulting in injury, or 12,950 more a year
- 9 per cent increase in common assaults, or 6,518 more a year
- 6 per cent increase in sexual assaults, or 1049 more a year
- 19 per cent increase in aggravated sexual assaults, or 954 more a year.
“That’s thousands more innocent New Zealanders being terrorised on Labour’s watch.
“Despite this, Labour is conducting an experiment of trying to reduce the number of prisoners by 30 per cent. There are now 38 per cent, or 2,878, fewer sentenced prisoners behind bars.
“Under Labour, violent crime is up but the number of prisoners is down.
“ACT will abolish Labour’s goal of reducing the prison population by 30 per cent, reinstate Three Strikes, introduce a separate Three Strikes regime for burglary offences, and review the use of electronic monitoring for violent offenders.
“We estimate this will increase the sentenced prisoner population by 2,094 over four years, bringing the total prison population back to its 2017 level. That’s 524 extra prisoners a year.
“Based on current spare capacity in the prison system, that requires building another 500 prison beds by 2026/27.
“ACT will invest $1 billion to build an additional 500 beds to ensure there is sufficient capacity in our prisons for dangerous people to be locked away from law-abiding New Zealanders.
“Imprisonment is not our first choice, but it’s better than lawlessness. Locking up criminals is about preventing more victimisation.
“Labour’s approach to law and order is short-sighted and dangerous. ACT understands we need a firm response to serious crime and a place to put dangerous people.”