ACT is holding its annual rally on June 9 in Auckland. If you’d like to show your support for the party’s values and its role in Government, with people who share your values, please get your tickets now. We’d love to see you there.


The Government was elected to stop the wave of crime. It had crested up under Labour’s experiment of being kind to criminals to see if they’d be kind back. It doesn’t feel like the wave has broken yet, and this week Free Press travels through what the coalition has already done, much of it driven by ACT.

At the heart of Labour’s mistake was their view that people cannot change. They believed some people are criminals, and it’s not their fault, so reducing the prison population, writing cultural reports for them, and seeing gangs as partners was the right thing to do. In reality they sent a message that bad behaviour was ok, and they got more of it.

The Government has taken the opposite approach. People can respond to incentives, and if they’re wrong and people can’t then at least they’ll be locked up, unable to harm innocent people.

In opposition ACT’s Nicole McKee revealed that the previous Government spent more on pre-sentencing, or cultural, reports than it spent on victim support. Pre-sentencing reports became a cottage industry, five thousand dollars a pop to tell judges sad stories about convicted criminals to get them softer sentences.

The Government is no longer funding them, thanks to ACT’s coalition agreement with the other parties. The balance of justice is tipping back away from criminals, towards victims.

Meanwhile, Three Strikes is coming back. Serious sexual and violent offenders automatically get the maximum sentence on their third conviction. Some people will complain that sentencing is a judge’s job. It still is, but the people have the right to give them guidance through Parliament, and that’s what ACT has secured in the Parliament.

Too many youth offenders were tagged and released. Re-arresting the same kids over and over was demoralising and inefficient for police, not to mention retailers suffering ram raids. The problem was Labour had nowhere to put them, and when youth offenders were put away they climbed on the roof and demanded KFC.

ACT’s Karen Chhour is now the Minister for Children. She is turning around Oranga Tamariki, including strengthening their facilities, creating programmes for youth offenders, and removing race from the Oranga Tamariki Act so OT can put the best interests of the youth and the community front and centre.

This week the Government announced another ACT coalition agreement policy, that there will be 810 more prison beds at Waikeria prison. ACT campaigned on increasing facilities for youth and adult incarceration. It’s not that the party likes people locking up, it’s just ACT doesn’t like people and their property being victimised by thugs.

Changes yet to come from ACT’s coalition commitments include amending the Sentencing Act. Anyone in a gang, or who attacks a sole charge worker in their workplace will get tougher sentences for the same crime than if they weren’t.

Meanwhile ACT MP Todd Stephenson has a member’s bill before select committee that, if supported by Parliament, will make education or rehabilitation courses mandatory for prisoners seeking parole.

Elsewhere the Government is committed to another 500 police officers. As our population grows, it is necessary that the thin blue line doesn’t thin out further. More police on the beat will mean more deterrence and faster response times for victims of crime.

The Government is also banning gangs from wearing patches, allowing Police to issue dispersal orders when they gather, and placing tougher search and seizure laws for gangs with guns.

Ongoing crime is frustrating, but it only continues because the new Government’s policies are either not in place or not having their effect yet. Every policy above happens in steps. The Government changes policy, the justice system changes how it works, criminal behaviour changes after that.

Most importantly the underlying values of New Zealand are changing. Lawlessness is no longer an inevitable feature of life in our country, we can choose to change it, and changing it is.

That's it for this week, be sure to stay tuned next Monday

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