“Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has only been out of the country a few days but he seems to have completely forgotten about the state of crime in New Zealand,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Speaking to Newstalk ZB this morning, Hipkins was spinning like a top to try and put a positive twist on out of control crime rates in New Zealand, but ultimately said nothing of substance.

“When asked why retail stores are having to hire private guards so they can continue to operate, Hipkins said “if you look at the apprehension rate for people who have undertaken that offending it's very high”, when challenged on what the numbers were behind that statement, he had to admit he didn’t know and was informed by the interviewer that the apprehension rate is only 19 per cent.

“The first job of any government is to keep innocent people safe, not make excuses. The government has been asleep at the wheel and the PM is still dancing around the real issues that the country faces.

“ACT’s upcoming Real Change Budget will make the necessary investments to ensure dangerous criminals are kept off the streets and youth offenders are getting the necessary interventions to stop them terrorising shopkeepers and heading towards a life of crime.

“We will abolish Labour’s goal of reducing the number of prisoners, reinstate Three Strikes, introduce a Three Strikes regime for burglary, and review the use of electronic monitoring for violent offenders.

“We estimate these policies will increase the sentenced prisoner population back to its 2017 level and will require us to build another 500 prison beds by 2027. ACT will invest $1 billion to make this happen to ensure dangerous people are kept off our streets.

“Imprisonment is not our first choice, but it’s better than lawlessness. Locking up criminals is about preventing more victims.

“ACT will also shift the management of youth offenders from Oranga Tamariki to the Department of Corrections and invest $500 million on the construction of 200 new youth justice beds and $44 million each year to operate them.

“There needs to be escalating consequences. ACT has previously proposed instant penalties and ankle bracelets, now we’re making sure there are facilities run by Corrections available to hold offenders accountable.

“The fundamental problem with youth crime is that there is no place to take bad kids. They’re too young for prison, they’re known to escape from youth justice facilities, or they’re sent home to their families where they have a lack of guidance and discipline.

“No one wants to see young people incarcerated, but it’s better than doing nothing and setting them up for a life of crime, and it’s better than small business owners living in fear.

“ACT will keep proposing positive solutions to ensure all New Zealanders feel safe and that we have real change.”

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