The first duty of government is to protect the people, and when government fails to protect the people it loses its legitimacy. The current government is notable for seeking to lower the prison population – not by reducing crime but by simply keeping the criminals out of prison!
New Conservative aims to refocus the justice system on making New Zealanders safe again in our homes and businesses and on our streets. We believe that prison is an important tool both for deterrence and to keep society safe from dangerous and hardened criminals. We will ensure that serious crime is rewarded with serious consequences and will seek to fix any aspects of the justice system which are failing and causing criminals to be on the street committing crime when they should have been locked up.
Genuine rehabilitation must become the focus for those in prison. We propose a 3-stage prison system:
- Discipline with work in prison,
- Open Prison: regular employment in the community while being housed in prison.
Inmates would need to succeed at each stage in order to progress to the next.
Prevention, however, is better than cure, and we believe that the driving factors of crime need to be addressed, in particular family breakdown and alcohol and drug abuse. Our focus will be on addressing these areas, including:
- Building strong families, supporting for example relationship and parenting training.
- Early intervention for at-risk youth.
- Fit for purpose education and training, including pathways for trades training and early entry to the workforce.
- Effective mental health and alcohol and drug services.