Ted Johnston, Deputy Leader of New Conservative states , “As a criminal lawyer working for 3 decades in South Auckland I have seen the constantly worsening state of the criminal justice system.”
The recent assault on a 12 year old by a group just highlights the decline in behaviour and increase in youth crime. There have to be consequences to deter crime.
The Manukau court I work at has been the busiest court in NZ for some time. Fewer people appearing and lower statistics does not often mean less crime, it means less solved crime. This happens with insufficient police numbers and an inefficient bureaucracy. We only need to read the newspapers to see crime is in fact rampant and more serious.
Notable recent issues are, constant use of guns, fleeing from police, and ram raids or blatant aggravated robberies in broad daylight in places like malls.
Recent governments have sought to lower the prison population not by reducing crime but by sending fewer criminals to prison. This is a deliberate failure of the Labour Government and previous ones to fulfill its most basic duty - to keep people safe. New Conservative believes that prison is an important tool to keep society safe from dangerous and hardened criminals, and will ensure that serious crime is rewarded with serious consequences.
Another aspect of the problem is that the courts are in a crisis. The reality is that you get what you pay for, and the government has been cheap in its spending. There are insufficient judges and court hearing dates. It is not unusual for hearings or trials to take years to reach a conclusion. The Court workers were amongst the lowest paid government workers, and they had a rolling strike last year. or a lengthy period. Prisons fill up with many minor offenders breaching bail, instead of their proper use to keep dangerous offenders in custody. Probation is underfunded and other government services such as treatment for sex offenders to stop offending, are limited.
Further, the government has increased the red tape for criminal lawyers and others, causing increased bureaucratic costs.
New Conservative will ensure that New Zealand has a properly funded justice system with more judges and court support staff, including probation services, and more police, to deal with the current epidemic of crime.
- We will ensure there are sufficient police on the beat in main centres to keep streets safe.
- There will be no home detention for ram raiders, gun offending, and dangerous fleeing drivers.
- Youth offenders will not get a free pass to just go out and reoffend.
- Minor breaches of bail will be dealt with by short terms of imprisonment, not months or years in custody. Police will be given more discretion whether to charge for very minor matters.
- Processes will be streamlined so that by eliminating unnecessary red tape.
New Conservative is serious about cutting down crime, and this requires an efficient and effective criminal justice system and harsher penalties for the most serious crimes or those becoming increasingly common. We will address the causes of crime, by giving people and at risk youth meaningful things to do during their day, by strengthening the family unit and providing family training, and helping lower financial pressures and the cost of living.
- Ted Johnston
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