Three strikes law supported by 68 per cent of Kiwis, survey finds

NZ Herald 2 June 2018
Third-strike offenders have an average of 63 criminal convictions and 68 per cent of Kiwis approve of the hardline policy, according to a new survey.

Under the “Third Strikes” law, a person who has three warnings for serious violent, sexual or drugs offending can be sentenced to the maximum jail time without parole.

Justice Minister Andrew Little will take the controversial law, introduced in 2010, to the Cabinet next week to soften it, but a new survey has found the majority of New Zealanders support the law as it is.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust commissioned poll of 965 adults found 68 per cent approved of the law, and 20 per cent did not. The rest were unsure or refused to answer.

Family First NZ said the independent nationwide poll showed the Coalition Government had no public mandate for scrapping the law, and that evidence proved it is having the desired effect.

“The law appears to be working as planned because there is a dramatic drop from the number of first strikes (9632) to second strikes (273), and then again to a third strike (4),” national director Bob McCoskrie said.

“Criminals aren’t stupid. They are well aware of the law and its consequences. If the regime is scrapped, the Government is in danger of sending a message that we’re not serious about the It’s Not OK zero-tolerance message on family violence,” he said.

Ministry of Justice figures provided in a December 2017 response under the Official Information Act analysed the number of offenders becoming second, third or fourth strikers in the five years after Three Strikes was passed, compared with the five years prior to 2010.

The figures showed a 34 per cent reduction in “strike” recidivism, McCoskrie said.

“This is the kind of result that should be welcomed, not repealed.”
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