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Released last week, National's Law and Order Discussion document has created a great deal of comment. There are 43 ideas aiming to reduce crime, improve community safety and help break the cycle of violence that hurts so many New Zealand families.

There’s been plenty of media coverage of the anti-gang proposals like banning patches, and the Strike Force Raptor targeted policing, but there are many more proposals intended to put victims at the heart of the justice system.

We believe victims should get justice, criminals should be held accountable for the harm they cause, and offenders should be rehabilitated so they can become contributing members of our society. In certain circumstances, when set criteria is met, we will wipe the convictions of young people so their life isn’t defined by one incident.

Our Police are vital to fighting crime. We will ensure Police know what law enforcement targets they must meet and we will free them up to do so, for example, by greater use of non-sworn or authorised officers and mental health professionals.

Keeping people safe with a tough response to crime goes hand in hand with reducing it through Social Investment measures, such as prevention and rehabilitation.

Both are essential.

Victims of crime should be at the centre of the justice system, not an afterthought. Our MPs have spoken with families who have had loved ones murdered and who haven’t got the justice they’ve deserved as victims in their own right.

Our proposals seek to correct this, whether that’s by automatically signing victims and their families up to the Victims Notification Register or by giving them the right to read their Victim Impact Statements in Court, uninterrupted and uncensored.

Using National’s Social Investment approach we want to ensure prisoners can upskill to they have a better chance of not returning to prison. Alongside this, we think there should be increased support for prisoners when they are released back into the community so they are less likely to commit further crimes and victimise more people.

National is focused on the justice system as a whole. Our proposals touch on all aspects of it, whether it’s the Courts system, or Corrections, or the law in between.

We’re working hard, and these proposals show National has the ideas and momentum to deliver for all New Zealanders.

This document is just one part of the biggest policy development process undertaken by an Opposition ever. Enter into the contest of ideas with your feedback at https://www.national.org.nz/law_and_order . And of course, I’m very to hear your thoughts as well – contact me at newplymouthmp@parliament.govt.nz.

 

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