The ACT party has sued the Labor party for a soft-on-crime approach to gangs and prisons, and has proposed a new set of policies to fight crime if elected to government.
The new set of policies has been published in the second of three policy discussion papers that ACT plans to launch this year.
Both National and ACT have tried to crack down on Labor for being soft-on-crime after a massive growth in gang numbers in recent years and a riot at Waikeria Prison in the new year.
“Gang numbers have increased by 50 percent after four years of ‘kindness’ approach by Labour. We have seen patched gang members take over our streets as if they were them and not the law-abiding taxpayers who own the place,” said ACT leader David Seymour in a statement upon release.
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“Labour’s soft-on-crime approach has just fertilized the growing gang problem. This is the dangerous side of Jacinda’s kindness. She likes to blame Australia, but only two percent of the new gang members are “501ers” sent from there. We need a government that takes responsibility for what happens under its oversight.
“A good opposition is pro, not just against. That is why today we are launching a series of policies with positive solutions,” said Seymour.
Among the proposals are gang warrants, in which police could apply for a court order against individuals on a gang list. It would prohibit the gang member from being in certain places or hanging out with certain people. It can also be used to demand positive actions such as rehabilitation.
Act would also lock in automatic increases in the police budget in line with inflation to “take politics out of policing”.
The party also proposes “electronic income management” for gang members on benefits.
“Gang members would receive their benefit in the form of an electronic card that could track and limit spending on alcohol, gambling and tobacco,” said Karen Chhour, the party’s spokesman for social development.
“The money provided by taxpayers should go to food and other essentials.
Both ACT and the National Party see Kelvin Davis and Corrections as a potential vote winner, especially after the Waikeria Prison riots over the summer. ACT was also the party that first allowed the introduction of the so-called ‘three strikes’ rule, which forces the judge to impose the maximum sentence on a third serious offender.
Labor has said it will scrap the law. Act has promised to uphold it.
In prisons, ACT has also pledged to scrap Labor’s target of reducing the prison population by 30 percent in 15 years.
“ACT opposes ideological goals that lead people out of prison. All that does is put more risk to the communities that have already been victimized,” the party’s corrections spokesman Toni Severin said.
Severin also said she has also introduced a bill that would mandate rehabilitation programs for an inmate to receive parole.