H&P Times Column - National will restore law and order

Labour’s soft approach to crime has left too many Kiwis in fear within their own homes and communities, and National has made it a priority to restore law and order in New Zealand.

Since Labour took office in 2017, violent crime has increased by 33 per cent while gang numbers have increased by 66 per cent.

We saw this clearly illustrated when the town of Ōpōtiki was recently forced to close down because of a gang funeral.

National believes it is unacceptable that whole communities, like ours in Pakuranga, must bow to the illegal whims of criminals to the point where children are prevented from going to school.

Our message is clear – if you choose to engage in criminal activities or align yourself with a gang, you will face more severe consequences.

Over the weekend, National announced a raft of policies to ensure that there are real consequences for crime.

National will limit the ability of judges to reduce sentences by a maximum discount of 40 per cent.

We have seen too many serious offenders given light sentences, with some seeing more than half their potential sentence reduced, which simply isn’t fair to their victims.

National will restore the Three Strikes law to ensure the most serious offenders are kept behind bars.

National will stop taxpayers’ funding being used to pay for ‘cultural reports’ which are used to reduce offenders sentences and reprioritise that funding to support victims of crime instead.

National will prioritise rehabilitation within our prisons by ensuring remand prisoners have access to rehabilitation programmes in prison that they cannot currently take part in.

Around a quarter of all prisoners serve their entire sentence on remand, so it makes sense to use that time to address underlying causes of offending.

These policies come on top of other policies we have already announced to help restore law and order in New Zealand.

National will crack down on serious youth offenders by creating young offender military academies, to provide them with discipline, mentoring and intensive rehabilitation.

National will also take a tougher stance on gangs and gang violence by banning gang patches in public places and allowing police to issue dispersal notices when gang members come together in public to intimidate, threaten and sometimes assault members of the public.

Police will be given greater powers to prevent gangs from communicating and planning criminal activity as well as warrantless search powers to take guns out of the hands of the most violent gang members.

Finally, we will make membership of a gang an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing, so gang members convicted of an offence face tougher consequences for their crimes.

Under a National-led government, New Zealand will be a safer place to live and raise a family, and violent crime will not be tolerated.

You can read about our law and order policies in greater detail at our website, www.national.org.nz/plan.