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Three strikes law to cut crime 10-20 percent

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
David Garrett
David Garrett

Wellington, May 26 NZPA - Crime should drop 10-20 percent under the controversial "three strikes" legislation passed by Parliament yesterday, ACT MP David Garrett says.

After strong opposition from Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party the Sentencing and Parole Bill went through its third reading last night on a vote of 63-58, with National and ACT supporting it.

It will apply to people over 18 and it is not retrospective.

Someone committing a serious violent or sexual offence will receive a standard sentence and a warning on the first offence, generally a jail term with no parole and a further warning on the second offence, and the maximum penalty for a third offence with no parole.

Mr Garrett said he thought a 10-20 percent decrease in crime because of the law was realistic.

"I don't have a crystal ball. I can't say whether it will be 10 percent, 20 percent, but I would expect a marked reduction once the policy is fully in place."

He said the policy worked through "incapacitation and deterrence".

"People cannot harm members of the public when they're in jail," Mr Garrett told Radio New Zealand.

"This law is aimed at that small number, that very small number, of repeat violent offenders who rack up cricket scores of offences which will no longer be possible."

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira said the law would not reduce crime at all.

"Just by putting a guy in jail for the rest of his life doesn't stop the fact that other people are in the same conditions and are likely to start heading down the same path."

Nothing has been done to change the conditions.

During the debate last night Mr Harawira said the policy was "outright bloody racism" against Maori.

Police Minister Judith Collins said the bill upheld a government pledge to remove eligibility for parole for the worst repeat violent offenders.

"Parole is a privilege that will not be available to those who fail to take heed of warnings and continue to commit serious violence crimes," Ms Collins said.

Labour and the Greens have opposed the law since it was proposed by the ACT Party and then included in a government bill.

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