Lobby groups welcome ‘three strikes’ bill

TV3 News 25-May 2010

Lobby groups calling for tougher sentencing have cautiously welcomed the passing of the ‘three strikes’ bill into law. The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill was voted into law 63-58 last night, with votes from National and ACT. Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party all opposed it. The Sensible Sentencing Trust’s Garth McVicar says it has been “great day”, and one “victims of violent crime will never forget”. “Many New Zealanders are unaware of the significance of this legislation,” says Mr McVicar. “The bill actually turns the current criminal-friendly system totally upside down.” His only regret was that the bill would not be applied retroactively. “It seems totally unfair that many more victims will be assaulted or murdered before a career criminal is removed from society.”

Family First’s Bob McCoskrie also welcomed the law, but expressed concerns the changes do not go far enough. “Family First is still concerned that young offenders will not be given strikes for serious offending, potentially allowing a young person to become a career criminal at an early age,” says Mr McCoskrie. On the whole however, the Family First director – who continues to campaign strongly for parents’ rights to smack their children (relevance??) – backs the bill. “The best and most obvious way to protect women, children, and the elderly from repeat violent offenders is to incapacitate them,” says Mr McCoskrie.