“The Government has today announced it will spend $70 million to go softer on crime than it already is,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.
“This funding includes 12 Iwi Community Panels, known as Te Pae Oranga.
“These panels give offenders who commit serious crimes like stabbing a police officer or abducting a child the opportunity to take part in a restorative justice programme instead of going through the courts.
“The Government keeps boasting that its prison population is decreasing, that’s because serious violent offenders are having a hui instead of serving time.
“For small scale offences a programme like this might work, but we must ensure serious and violent offences are dealt with in the criminal justice system.
“Assaults last year increased by 12.4 percent. Gang numbers have increased by 50 percent since 2017. It’s no wonder crime increases when offenders know there are no consequences for their actions.
“For every offence committed there is a victim of crime. Offenders need to know there are consequences for their actions. These should be proper consequences and not just sitting in front of a panel who will slap you with a wet bus ticket.
“ACT has always been the true party of law and order. We introduced the Three Strikes legislation, we have a Member's Bill that would require prisoners to do rehabilitation before being released and we have Member's Bill that would increase the power of police to seize assets connected with gang activity and illegal firearms owned by gang members.
“ACT has real solutions to crime and offending. We encourage the Government to look at our positive solutions instead of spending tens of millions on community panels.”