(National Party media release)

The Government must acknowledge the key role it has played in the current crime wave before it can fix it, National’s Justice spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“The Prime Minister constantly sounds surprised by the increase in violent retail crime and resorts to carefully chosen and misleading statements to avoid accountability.

“On Monday she told RNZ the Government had not lessened the penalties on any individual crime. What she doesn’t say is that her Government has sent three powerful signals to the justice system that have driven the current ‘soft on crime’ approach.

“First, the only target her Government has set for the justice sector has been to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent, regardless of the level of crime on our streets.

“Second, the only legislation it has passed on sentencing has been to repeal the Three Strikes Act, to shorten prison sentences for our most serious, repeat offenders.

“Third, her Ministers have encouraged a culture of excuses.

“Though it might have been well-intentioned, the Government’s soft on crime approach has led to more violence in our communities, a 500 per cent increase in ram raids, a sense of impunity amongst offenders and, sadly, more victims of crime.

“To restore community safety, the Government’s priority in justice should be to reduce the number of victims of crime, not prisoners.

“Ministers should reassert that serious crimes will lead to serious consequences and stop making excuses for crime.”