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NZ First announces hard-hitting law and order policy

Stuff.co.nz | August 18, 2005
By MAGGIE TAIT

New Zealand First would de-merge traffic and police forces and add an extra 1000 police officers a year to the force, party leader Winston Peters announced today.

In the Wairarapa, Mr Peters told an audience at Masterton Town Hall that his party would also lower the age of criminal responsibility to 12 and even younger for repeat offenders.

He cited the recent case of a 13-year-old Masterton boy who had a record of stealing cars and driving dangerously who police said they were powerless to stop because of his age.

"Not only will we lower the age of criminal responsibility to 12 we will not leave our police powerless to stop criminal behaviour."

Mr Peters slammed Labour's law and order record citing 111 problems, staff shortages, rising gang violence and drug crime, growing immigrant crime and sexual offending.

He described Labour's 250 extra community police as a "band-aid over a festering sore".

National also took a hit with Mr Peters saying the party was poised to slash police numbers by 500 in 1999 before it lost the election.

Including traffic enforcement as part of police had failed, Mr Peters said.

"For too long our detectives have been doing traffic duty instead of solving crime... The demerger will ensure that rather than having police recording so-called SAP (safety administrative programmes) hours or traffic duty, which in many cases they are not doing, there will actually be real traffic officers doing the real job."

Once traffic officers were separate there would be 5000 full-time police and NZ First would increase that by 1000 a year.

"By doubling the number of sworn officers we can start fighting crime with the aim of winning the battle."

NZ First would make young people and their parents more accountable.

Twelve-year-olds would be dealt with by the district and high courts rather than youth courts.

Family group conferences would be retained for younger children but after three offences would be dealt with by adult courts.

Guidelines on when anonymity could be permitted would be made to make youth offenders more accountable to the community.

NZ First would also require potential recidivist serious offenders to be electronically tagged and monitored for life.

It would review home detention and increase mandatory minimum sentences for violent offences.

Mr Peters said NZ first would put resources in counter-Terrorism to combat the "evil cyst" in society.

"We cannot put our heads in the sand and hope that by saying nice things these evil people will change their minds about hating the West."

NZ First would also ensure police had better resources for DNA and drug testing and up to date technology.


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