Speech: Nicole McKee
Real Change Now, SkyCity Theatre, 4 June 2023
Good afternoon, my friends.
It is great to see some familiar faces, there’s quite a few new ones here… Let me say a warm welcome to you all… And thanks for lending us some of your time today, before the most important election in our country’s recent history.
I first stood on a big stage like this back in 2020… I remember, I was so nervous yet really excited… it was our Dare to be Different campaign – I dared our audience to take a chance, and lend us your Vote.
Thanks to all those that did… You gave David nine mates, and the strongest result in our history. And we just keep growing! I trust you are happy with our service thus far?
In 2020, I stood on a stage – like this - to speak to an audience – like you, you’re a MUCH bigger audience though, just saying …. ACT does thrive on growth – I spoke about my dreams of living in a safe country that values freedom of choice and expression… Promotes personal responsibilities…. A country where future generations can afford to live and work, with a Government that listens… and ACTs responsibly for ALL its people.
I still have those dreams from 2020 and I bet you all share them too.
We have to be stronger than ever and work twice as hard now… as we:
- Watch our kids either leave to live overseas or steal a car for a ram raid;
- As we see serious violent crime rising every year in every single city;
- As ‘cancel culture’ takes over our Universities and schools;
- We’re in a country where too many don’t want to work… and many who do are struggling to make ends meet. Imagine! Being worried about putting food on the table, while the Government spends $2.8M telling you to take a 5 minute shower.
- And where the gangs are growing faster than the Police with an 84%, that’s around 3,500 increase in patched gang members since 2017.
- and where Police have taken six years to recruit 1800 meanwhile 2,000 have left the service
Under this Labour Government those 2020 dreams are getting further and further away. And there is one thing about Labour’s approach that is TRULY baffling…
Yes, Labour has cuddled crims like Chris Hipkins embraces a sausage roll…. but STILL they don’t do the business on rehabilitation.
My colleague Toni Severin has uncovered that in March this year, 90 per cent of prisoners did no rehabilitation whatsoever. Zilch.
The Government lets criminals out who can’t read… don’t have a drivers licence… Let alone a trade or a chance of making it in the legal world.
So, it is little wonder that 70 per cent of young offenders are back inside within four years of release.
It’s the worst of all worlds. Lots of prisoners… lots of crime… and nobody getting rehabilitated. Instead, Labour has created ‘Academies of crime’ that lead directly to the violence and fear we see on our streets.
That is why ACT says if you want parole… learn to read.
Get a drivers’ licence…. Learn some skills. If you want to change, we will HELP you.
Letting criminals out before they can make it on the outside is pointless and a special kind of cruel. That’s why we’d make self-improvement a non-negotiable condition for early release.
This is the kind of Real Change our people are crying out for in our country.
Let me tell you why… Crime is so much worse under Labour – we’ve had a FIVE fold increase in ram raids – In the year to March 2018 there were 145; in the year to February 2023 it is 818;
Right here in Auckland – the data shows that everything crime-related is going up assaults, burglaries, theft, robbery, sexual assaults, even abductions.
Aucklanders alone have reported nearly quarter of a million shoplifting crimes in a year.
About 29% of our adult population – so before we even get to the kids – have been victimised over the previous 12 months – that’s about 1.2 million adults.
I don’t want to depress you any further, but did you know that there is a list of the World’s Most Miserable Countries? We were at 151st place last year out of 156 countries – we are now at 104th place out of 157 countries.
SO much of the blame for that can be put at the door of our soaring crime rates.
And is why we need to turn this thing around. This year.
Now, not only are Labour failing to do anything about crime… They deny it is happening directly to the faces of the people experiencing it.
The Police’s own data tells a story none of us should be surprised to hear…
- Acts intended to cause injury are up nearly 42%
- Serious assaults are up 121%
- Blackmail and extortion is up 263%
In the 12 months March 2023 – Retailers have been hit with burglary and breaking and entering over 68,500 times yet proceedings have been brought against fewer than 1 in ten of the perpetrators.
The low proceedings number pretty much suggests it’s the same recidivist criminals continually preying on our communities… Taking and stealing what isn’t theirs… What they didn’t work for and which they have no entitlement to.
It falls to US to change the culture of impunity.
So let’s get back to basics… What would ACT in government do differently?
We will reinstate three strikes… We will lock up the worst of the worst if they continue to commit serious violent crimes – At the time that three strikes was repealed, the 24 serving their third strike had already amassed on average seventy five convictions each.
While we are at it, we will introduce three strikes for burglary… Those recidivist thieves will not pass ‘Go’ on their third appearance… They will NOT collect welfare… They’ll go straight to jail for three years, without parole - But with those rehabilitation opportunities I talked about earlier.
We plan on building 500 more beds to put them in when they get there.
Youth Justice facilities will get a boost under ACT with an additional 200 beds to help sort out our problem youth.
Those beds will be the last resort because if our under 18 year-olds don’t get the message with our youth infringement notices – Which means instant penalties for petty crime – or with the ankle bracelet for recidivist violent youth offenders – then there will be 200 new youth justice places waiting for them instead.
Labour decided to decrease the prison population by 30%... As if that meant the number of crimes would go down! Well, they’ve exceeded their target… They got the number of prisoners down by 38% instead. Are you interested in the results of this genius move…?
- There is a 75% increase in child sex offenders on home detention.
- An 83% increase in sex offenders on home detention.
- And a 133% increase in gang members sentenced for violence offences on home detention. That’s 900 gang members.
We will abolish that prison reduction target… AND we will review the qualifiers for home detention eligibility. There are some crimes against society, you simply should be imprisoned and get rehabilitation for.
I don’t give a damn what your culture or skin colour is… what ethnic group you belong to… if you do the crime you face the consequences of it. We are all equal under this law. No ifs… No buts… No special exemptions.
Our justice system spends more money on ‘cultural’ reports for criminals, $6M, than on the victims of crime who got $5M.
And doesn’t this tell us everything about where Labour’s priorities lie?
Reparations for victims are a joke. One victim recently told me of how he has been pursuing Court ordered reparation for himself… He was told by the Ministry of Justice to simply get in line – He is the THIRD victim on the perpetrator’s list! He was also told that when the money did start to eventually come through it would likely be at $20 a week… This just means that the system victimises the victims a SECOND time. And it has to change.
ACT says reforming the reparations system is long overdue. We would re-direct revenue from the proceeds of crime fund towards paying victims Court Ordered Reparation.
We would then utilise the IRD to collect the too-slow repayments from the debtor… putting them on a proper repayment pathway that sees victims respected, not re-assaulted.
Ladies and gentlemen – We needed this government to take responsibility for what has happened on its watch… But they are in denial.
ACT believes there needs to be swift and serious consequences for offending in our communities because we no longer feel safe within them.
So, as a starting point, a new government with ACT in it will…
- Bring in gang control orders and hit the gangs where it hurts.
- Introduce youth infringement notices for immediate justice
- Abolish the prison target, and put hardened criminals in prison.
- Reintroduce three strikes
- Legislate three strikes for burglary
- Compulsory rehabilitation courses for parole eligibility
- Separate out Youth Justice from Oranga Tamariki and increase the number of beds in our youth justice facilities.
And that is just the start… Labours social experiment on recidivist and often violent offending cannot continue.
The damage of the last six years must be undone. With you by our side… We’ve got this.
Thank you for joining us on the next stage of this journey… Into Government! – The time for Real Change is now.