Law and Order

Thu, 06 Aug, 2020

ACT believes protecting the safety and property of its citizens is the government’s first and most important job. The rights of victims should trump the rights of criminals.

Law and Order

You deserve to be safe in your community. You shouldn’t have to worry that gang members will force you off the road as you drive across town, or feel unsafe walking home after dark.

Gang numbers have skyrocketed after four years of Labour’s “kindness”. They’ve taken over the streets. LA-style shootings are now a regular occurrence. Violent gun crime is up 47 per cent. Youth crime is spiralling out of control with ram raids and dairies being robbed every other day.

Victims should be at the centre of the justice system. We shouldn’t be cuddling the criminals who have offended against them.

We need a Government that takes responsibility for what’s happening on its watch. There need to be swift and serious consequences for offending in our communities. New Zealanders deserve safer communities.

Gang control orders

ACT would introduce Gang Control Orders to allow the Police to apply to the courts for an injunction against an individual on the National Gang List to limit risks of criminal offending from that person. Police would need to have a reasonable belief that the individual posed a particular risk of committing gang related violence or drug-dealing offending. Under a Gang Control Order, the courts prohibit bad behaviours and require good ones from a person. Examples would include prohibiting someone from being in a particular place or requiring them to participate in rehabilitative activities.

Gang spending cards

ACT would introduce electronic monitoring of how individuals on the National Gang List spend any benefit they receive from the Government. Almost half of the serious offences committed by gang members are family violence related. According to the Ministry of Social Development a high proportion of gang members’ children experience multiple incidents of abuse or neglect. This is unacceptable and we need to ensure that taxpayer money is being used to support families, not to service neglect. Electronic Income Management has been successfully trialled in Australia. It issues an electronic card with tracked spending and restrictions on alcohol, gambling, and tobacco expenditure. This policy puts children’s welfare at the centre of social policy and limits the neglect often perpetrated by gangs.

Taking the politics out of policing

Successive Governments have turned police numbers into a political football each election. ACT proposes to cut through this politicking and deliver an enduring solution to the public and New Zealand police force. ACT would implement a standard annual increase in the Police staffing budget in line with population growth. The allocation would then be provided on a standard four-year Budget cycle which could be adjusted at the start of each new cycle. Currently New Zealand has approximately 10,000 constabulary officers, or 200 for every 100,000 New Zealanders. This puts us in an approximate equivalence with jurisdictions such as Australia, England and the United States. ACT’s policy would ensure that numbers keep up with population. This would provide a steady increase in funding for police recruitment over time to meet population needs and ensure that Police numbers increase as they are needed, instead of leaving it to hollow political promises.

Supporting frontline officers

The people who join the Police Force do so to help keep New Zealanders safe, and that’s what we want them to be doing. The Government needs to be consistently working to improve the ability for police to get on with the job of actually policing. That means we need to be looking for ways to use technology to reduce compliance and paperwork, and take pressure off the administrative end of Police work. ACT would work to continue upgrading Police technology and reduce red tape that police officers face, to free them up for doing their job.

Similarly, many frontline Police feel the IPCA takes too long with its investigations and decisions, leaving Police with a cloud hanging over them while they are investigated. ACT has heard from Police that there are concerns from officers that the IPCA investigates too many routine incidents. We propose asking for an independent review of the IPCA, including what it investigates and how long those investigations take.

Finally, we need to ensure that the Police are working on what they are best at – engaging with the community and stopping crime. But Government policies like new hate speech laws will simply force Police into tricky and subjective situations adding more bureaucracy to their job. The Government seems happy to allow an ill-defined proposal to be left to Police to decide how to implement it. ACT is not. ACT will repeal the Government’s proposed hate speech laws.

Abolish Labour's prison reduction target

Labour has a target to reduce the prison population by 30 percent over 15 years. This is madness. The goal of corrections is not to reduce the number of people in prison, it is to keep the rest of us safe. The people who end up in New Zealand’s prison system are some of the worst offenders and we do not support ideological targets leading to letting people out of prison. All that does is put more risk on the communities who have already been victimised. ACT would abolish the target.

Compulsory rehabilitation

However, ACT does believe prison is a place where we should work to ensure that when people leave, they have more skills to pull themselves out of repeat offending. ACT has a Member’s Bill that would make rehabilitation programmes compulsory prior to an individual being granted parole to ensure that they are getting the rehabilitation and skills they need. 

You can read ACT's comprehensive law and order plan here.