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Go If You Have To, Mr Key

Posted on 28 Jul 2009

ACT New Zealand Welfare Spokesman Sir Roger Douglas today accused Prime Minister John Key of emotionally blackmailing his colleagues to ignore much-needed superannuation reform by threatening to resign should any changes be made to superannuation eligibility.

"Since superannuation was first introduced in its current form, life expectancy of those who receive superannuation has increased 40 percent, while the age of entitlement has only increased 8.3 percent – this is clearly unsustainable," Sir Roger said.

"It's obvious that eligibility will need to change if we stick with the current system. The demographics show a decreasing number of workers to every superannuitant, from 4.5 today, to 2.2 in 2036. In other words, it will cost the average worker twice as much to fund other people's retirement.

"The public is aware of this and knows that these changes are inevitable. What New Zealanders don't realise is that moving the age of eligibility will not solve the problem and in 15 years we will be talking about moving the eligibility age again from 67 to 70.

"If we move from a ‘pay-as-you-go system' and encourage people to save for their own retirement, New Zealanders will be able to retire with more in the bank and stop politicians interfering in their lives.

"Under ACT's policy, each person would save the amount that they are currently taxed to pay for superannuation - and the average person would retire with over $1 million in the bank, at conservative interest rates of just four percent.

"We need an open and honest debate over the future of superannuation. That can only start with a Prime Minister who is willing to engage with ideas like those outlined above. Over the coming months it is my intention to make public a detailed policy in this area," Sir Roger said.


Speech To Local Government New Zealand Annual Conference

Posted on 28 Jul 2009

Speech To Local Government New Zealand Annual Conference - Hon Rodney Hide - Minister Of Local Government

President Lawrence Yule, Vice President Kerry Prendergast, Carl Wright, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and distinguished guests. Thank you for the opportunity to talk today at your Annual Local Government New Zealand Conference. It’s great to be here.

This is, of course, my first opportunity as Minister of Local Government to address LGNZ as a national body. I have enjoyed meeting with you at sector meetings and in your regions and districts. This is an exciting time to be working in local government. A commentator recently wrote Local Government is now sexy!

I can’t take the credit for that, but I am using my position to emphasise local government’s importance in people’s lives and to the future of New Zealand.
Local Government’s critical importance is why I took on the role of Minister.

Your theme "Our Place in the World" is big, bold and inspiring. I love it.

To achieve "Our Place in the World" we must dramatically improve New Zealand’s prosperity and super-charge our standard of living. We can’t achieve "Our Place" if we continue as a nation to drift ever further below the rest of the world.

That’s why ACT and National’s Confidence and Supply Agreement sets the goal of catching and matching Australia by 2025. That’s a big goal. It’s a stretch. It requires we dramatically lift our performance. But we can do it.

Setting the goal is important. It focuses our minds on what is important and what is not.

But we need to do much more than just set a goal to succeed. We need a plan to achieve our goal, we need to action that plan, and we need constant measurement of our performance against our goal.

That’s why I was so pleased last week to announce Dr Don Brash as Chair of the 2025 Taskforce. The Taskforce’s job is to measure New Zealand’s economic performance each year against achieving the goal. Then they will offer up the policies and institutional changes needed to put us on track to catch and match Australia.

I am now working with Don and Bill English to put together the rest of the Taskforce.

When I am assessing policy I ask a simple question: will it make the boat go faster? That is, will it boost our economic performance? That simple question focuses me on what we have to do to provide for ourselves and our children the prosperity and standard of living we so desperately yearn for. Far too many of our young and talented have to leave our place for other places to realise the standard of living they desire. As a country we can’t afford to lose their talent, enthusiasm and drive. We have to do better.

Making the boat go faster has been top of mind as I have visited councils in my new role as Minister.

There has been much that has impressed me.

Lawrence Yule and the Hastings District Council have been to the forefront with a proactive and client focussed efficient resource consent processing system. The council provides a key account manager for large or frequent consent applications.

A pre-lodgement service is also provided where a council staff member sits down with the applicant and works through the application to check that it is all complete and in order.

The system that Lawrence and his council have introduced saves time and cost for applicants, reduces frustration and error rates and importantly builds a relationship between council and customers. It makes our boat go faster.

And the results speak for themselves. Hastings District Council has a near 100 per cent compliance with on-time processing.

Hutt City has set a clear fiscal strategy based on what their ratepayers can afford. They have budgeted to that strategy thereby increasing the disposable income of their community and the profitability of their businesses. That makes the boat go faster. Hutt City has one of the lowest rate increases in the country while addressing council debt.

I visited Rotorua District Council recently and took note of Mayor Kevin Winters’ and CEO Peter Guerin’s commitment to good governance through a strong relationship between the elected councillors and their management team and a clear understanding of their respective roles. Good governance means good government, and good government is what we need to achieve our place in the world. These initiatives all serve to make the boat go faster.

But two weeks ago I saw a programme that rocked my socks. I had the great fortune to visit the City of Manukau Education Trust. COMET brings business CEOs into schools, takes school principals into businesses, and brings parents and grandparents into the classroom to learn to read and to write. It’s a phenomenal programme.

Local businesses better understand and know the schools in their area. The schools better know the businesses.

There are parents and grandparents who have learnt to read and to write and to go on to get degrees and to teach. Now that’s making the boat go faster. That is amazing.

The children’s performance at school has dramatically improved as their family and home environment has become pro-learning and other children are now wanting their mums, dads and grandparents to take part in the programme.

COMET taught me the crucial role Local Government can play in better directing and facilitating centrally funded programmes such as education.

It has been something Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has been at me about for some time. I am enthusiastically working with her to see how we can, through local government, achieve much more in social delivery.

All thanks to COMET and the innovative work of Manukau City Council.

As I have travelled the country I have listened, to you, to ratepayers and to farmers and other businesses.

I have heard loud and clear the concern over rate increases, red tape, unacceptable delays and bureaucratic bungling. We need to do better, much better.

I have also heard loud and clear of the large and unacceptable costs central government has imposed on local government and thereby ratepayers.

Tim Shadbolt wrote to me explaining how his council could easily have held costs to the rate of inflation except for the costs central government had imposed over the past nine years. For this year alone, Invercargill City Council will spend an extra $1.59 million, or nearly eight per cent, of their budget on complying with these additional requirements.

It is clear to me that successive governments have imposed large costs on local government without care or adequate thought. At Local Government New Zealand’s request we have put a moratorium on the introduction of drinking water standards.

LGNZ have also expressed concern at the impacts of the new air quality standards. That’s why a review is underway to examine these issues.

As Minister for Regulatory Reform I want to ensure that central government policy making takes proper account of any costs to be imposed on local government.

With Bill English I am working to tighten cabinet procedures to take better account of local government.

A huge amount of regulation has been passed on by central government to local government to administer.

Two prime examples of over-regulation are the Resource Management Act and Building Act.

The complexities and bureaucratic processes of this legislation have heaped costs on councils, which have then been passed onto users and ratepayers.

The reform of these two Acts now underway will go a considerable way to lessening councils’ planning and regulatory costs and make it simpler to administer the legislation.

You have also made clear to me that the processes and procedures set out in the Local Government Act are imposing unnecessary cost, making your jobs harder, and slowing down our boat.

Accordingly I am looking at that Act. My review is guided by principle.

The first thing is that I believe in local government. That is to say, wherever possible, I believe that decisions are best left with individuals. Where government is involved, it’s best to have a government as local and as close to the people affected as possible. That’s why I support and believe in local government.

My job is not to tell councils what to do. My job is to provide the best environment for you to get on and do your job reflecting the wish and desire of your communities and their willingness to pay.

The principles driving my review are transparency, accountability and fiscal management.

I want communities to really feel that they are a part of the local community and its governance, and able to have their say.

They need to be able to see what’s going on and to be in a position to hold their councils to account for spending their rates money.

I also want Councils to be able to go about their business in a less risk averse, more empowered way, with the full backing of your communities.

My work programme recognises that:
o local government should operate within a defined fiscal envelope;
o councils should focus on core activities, and;
o council decision-making should be clear, transparent and accountable.

My officials are looking into:

Simplifying long-term council community plans. I think councils are required to do far too much consultation, and the consultation is not meaningful to the average person in your communities. I plan to streamline consultation requirements but ensure that councils must consult on the issues that matter to communities - rating levels; spending decisions and service levels for councils’ core business. As many of you know I am also looking into the potential for using polls or referenda for particular decisions. More about that shortly.

I am also looking into the effectiveness of the current community outcomes process and I intend to improve it; I am also examining the extent of audit requirements that you have to meet.

I would like to strip away some of the heavy processes that weigh you down and waste ratepayers’ money.

I have asked my officials to develop a process for "plain English" financial disclosures so that ratepayers can understand what councils plan to spend their money on. I would like to see councils having a Pre-election financial update (prefu) statement published before every election, (similar to central government) so that ratepayers and voters are clear about the state of the books, and can have an informed view on what the council should be focussing on in the next three years.

This links to my view that councils should identify and focus on their core roles and functions. In my opinion the basic infrastructure needs of this country, and of ratepayers should be at the top of the list of council spending, with the "nice to have" coming much further down the list, if at all.

Councils need a clear fiscal strategy identifying the rating level and exactly what ratepayers will get for that spend. Ratepayers should be the decision makers on this fiscal strategy so there needs to be consultation. I’m looking into councils doing this through a poll or referendum at election time. Over and above this there should be a consultation process, so that the community is very clear what they have agreed to, and can hold the council accountable to those decisions.

I want to point out that a requirement for a financial strategy is not the same as rate-capping, or rate-setting by central government. I am not proposing these measures.

A good financial strategy will help councils; ratepayers and voters make better decisions about trade-offs. It will provide a basis to measure a council’s financial management record and help to identify future financial management issues.

In developing this work I am keen to build on the successes across the sector where LTCCP consultation has produced clear and useful summary information to ratepayers and voters.

I am also responding to ratepayer concerns about rates and expenses. It’s clear that fiscally successful councils set fiscal strategies with limits on rate increases, expenditure and debt and then set priorities within those limits set by the strategy. That seems to me proper fiscal planning.

I believe we need sound fiscal policies in local government and we need ratepayers able to have a say on that strategy. After all, it’s their money.

Before and since last year’s Election I have received thousands of letters and comments from ratepayers unhappy with a particular decision of their council. As part of my legacy I am determined to see a better relationship between local authorities and their electors.

I have consulted with Local Government New Zealand; the Society of Local Government Managers and other key stakeholders on the first stages of my work programme. I thank everyone for their cooperation and assistance to date.

I am particularly interested in your views about the core roles of local government. I appreciate that what might be a necessity for a large metropolitan council could be an absolute extravagance for a small rural council. At the heart of the issue is that if ratepayers are going to have some control over fiscal strategies then I want to ensure the basics are properly funded and maintained.

I hope to have legislation in Parliament for this work by the end of the year.

Driving all of this is the simple desire of how best we can make the boat go faster and achieve our place in the world.

I also believe it’s crucial, especially so in these times, that councils ensure that core activities are properly identified and funded before spending occurs on more discretionary activities.

As I have already mentioned it’s not about me telling local authorities what they can and cannot do. Rather it is about encouraging greater local democracy where councils consult more widely and effectively and seek a mandate for "non core spending."

I cannot leave you today without talking about Auckland.

At this stage of the process, it’s too early to say what the implications of the work on Auckland may be for other local authorities.

There are at present no proposals to take similar steps in other regions, as we acknowledge Auckland has a unique set of circumstances that have needed to be addressed for many years.

Further down the track, we can consider the implications of the review of Auckland’s governance for local government generally and structures outside Auckland.

Auckland’s local governance model is not working and hasn’t for some time. But defining the problem has always been the easy part. The hard part is fixing what is not working.

So that’s what we are addressing.

Allow me to share a little bit of history with you.

Ninety years ago in 1919 Michael Joseph Savage campaigned for Labour supporting a single Auckland Council. And fifty years ago Sir Roger Douglas’s grandfather, Bill Anderton, Minister of Internal Affairs, called on Aucklanders to unite with a single council.

So the idea is not new.

What’s new is that we have had the Royal Commission report and a government prepared to do something about it.

Auckland is a great city and region; our one truly "big" city and a critical gateway to the rest of the world. We can make it even greater. That’s what this reform is all about.

And getting Auckland right is important not only for Auckland but, it’s important too for the rest of the country.

If we want the boat to go faster, if we want to achieve our place in the world, then getting Auckland right is crucial.

I approach the policy work on Auckland again with the simple question: What’s best for Auckland?

And not just best for the here and now, but best for as far as we can see into the future.

It’s not about making the decisions for Auckland. It’s about providing the best governance structure to take Auckland forward in the decades ahead.

The Government wants Auckland to be able to speak with one voice on the critical regional issues that are so important to get right at that level. We want a mayor and a council able to speak for and represent all of Auckland. We want candidates able to campaign on their vision for the city and region; to fire our imagination and be elected and do the job.

But we want more than that. We want the many and varied voices and communities which make up Auckland to have a clear and significant role in its future. The diversity of this great city is what makes it strong and exciting.

We want the proposed local boards to have a meaningful role and make local decisions. We don’t want the Mayor and council diverted from the regional issues to be tangled up in local issues that could best be handled locally.

The only constraint should be that local board decision- making should not undermine regional decision-making.

The Government’s proposed model is for a unitary authority with two levels of decision-making but one administration supporting both.

As you know the select committee has been hearing submissions on this model and I await their report with interest.

The response from Aucklanders has been fantastic and we are working with Auckland and officials to get the very best result for Auckland and for our country.

It’s fabulous work to be involved in.

It’s an exciting time to be in local government. I feel very privileged to be Minister.

It has been great to talk with you today. I am looking forward to working with you.

The one thing I am sure about is that not all the wisdom resides in Wellington. There is never a monopoly on good ideas.

I have learnt such a lot from mayors and councils. I especially have appreciated the help I have received from President Lawrence Yule and your Chief Executive Eugene Bowen. Both have helped me as new Minister to understand local government better.

I have also been impressed with the work of the Department of Internal Affairs. They have been tremendous with their enthusiasm, commitment, intelligence and effort. I couldn’t ask for better.

Thank you for the opportunity to outline my thoughts and priorities. We are now moving to a discussion session so I am hoping we can pick up and canvass some of the ideas we have been talking about.

Together, we certainly can "Achieve Our Place in the World."

Thank you.

Lower Productivity Will Increase Poverty, Not Eliminate It

Posted on 27 Jul 2009

Calls by Maori leadership expecting to eliminate poverty by increasing handouts are short-sighted and will create the opposite results to what they are actually seeking, ACT New Zealand Maori Issues Spokesman Peter Tashkoff said today.

“It is surprising that Maori leadership still think that increased transfers from the productive sector is the way to fix poverty in New Zealand, when Labour tried the same approach and got us nowhere,” Mr Tashkoff said.

“Unless we address our poor productivity then wages will not be able to increase. In the past decade New Zealand’s multifactor productivity growth rate plummeted to 0.6 percent – down from 2.1 percent in the 1990s, and 1.6 percent between 1985–1990. This is the predictable outcome of increased spending. What it once cost to run our country for two years – when Labour first came to office – now sadly only covers one.

“This massive increase in spending has in part been driven by our willingness to engage in expensive welfare programs. Since the introduction of Working for Families in 2004 - the ratio of workers to beneficiaries has steadily dropped to a point where it now takes the efforts of almost three working New Zealanders to support two beneficiaries.

“Far from giving people a hand up, welfare keeps beneficiaries down and the idea that people are entitled to handouts destroys their incentives to work.

“If productivity growth is not present, wage growth is unsustainable. Trying to fix low wages by transferring even more money from the productive sector will only suppress productivity growth further and deeper embed a low wage economy.

“Instead of calling for more of the same failed policies of the present, the focus should be toward policies that will actually increase productivity growth and put in place the high wage economy that we all want to see. Addressing the issue at source is the only way that we will ever see an elimination of poverty in New Zealand, everything else is wishful thinking,” said Mr Tashkoff

Making A Real Difference

Posted on 27 Jul 2009

Hon Heather Roy speech to the Southland Region Board of Trustees Annual General Meeting; Kelvin Hotel, Kelvin Street, Invercargill; Tuesday, July 21 2009.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening, and thank you for the invitation to speak at your AGM.

Unlike many Wellingtonians, I'm not afraid to visit Invercargill in the winter. I spent a year at Kew Hospital as a third-year physiotherapy student, met my husband here and have family living locally.

These things may mean that my Southland credentials aren't perfect, but I do have a little history with the region!

I'd like to begin by thanking you for the contribution you make. We - the Government and parents - expect a lot from you and, when I consider how it is those of you who are Board Trustees got to be where you are, I have a great deal of admiration for your efforts and achievements.

Like me - and all politicians - you are elected to your positions by your peers. Your job is to govern, not to get involved in management - no matter how tempting that may be at times - to be accountable for the decisions you make and to take criticism from all directions. There is no long-term job security and in your case the pay is - to put it politely - not that flash.

Your often thankless position carries with it expectations. Boards have a very important role in making a difference for children and young people. You are entrusted with effective governance and expected to be scrupulously honest, to speak for your school community and to competently drive through the changes schools need and parents mandated at the last election.

As Boardmembers you are ultimately responsible for the performance of your school. You are expected to be confident that you are serving the best interests of student learning and achievement. You are expected to be accountable - to show your community what you are doing, and why.

And while you turn your minds and actions to these tasks in what is essentially a voluntary capacity I suspect you frequently find that everyone is an expert - yet few put up their hands to be counted as you do.

One could ask why it is you bother. Yet I rarely talk to a trustee who doesn't report that the experience is extraordinarily challenging but rewarding and valuable. That speaks volumes for your commitment to your children, and my children and all other Kiwi kids. For fighting the good fight I congratulate you.

After last year's election I became the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Associate Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Defence. There may not be too much obviously in common with Defence and the job you do as trustees of our children's school's, but my other responsibilities are directly related. As Minister of Consumer Affairs I expect quality and choice in the education sector. Parents and students are, after all, consumers of education services.

Associate Ministers are responsible for specific areas of portfolios. After the positions are allocated, primary portfolio Ministers and Associates negotiate over the areas of delegated authority - at least this is my recent experience of how such things go!

After some to-ing and fro-ing I was given responsibility for Special Education, Gifted and Talented Students and Independent Schools. Although at face value these seem like diverse area there is a common thread - to get quality educational outcomes for students, and that choice is the key to achieving success.

Tonight I'd like to focus on the areas of Special Education and Gifted and Talented Students. We tend to think of the children and young people that broadly fit in to these two groups as being at opposite ends of a spectrum - but in many respects this is the wrong way of considering what their needs are and how they can be met.

In reality, those who we consider to be 'normal learners' do relatively well in our school system. That's not to say they couldn't perhaps do better but they don't cause too much grief in the classroom, don't require extra resources and will - by and large - become responsible citizens who will contribute well to society.

Those with learning challenges outside the 'normal' range, however, struggle and require extra assistance.

If I had to sum up the thing I think is most vital to success in our education, it is choice. When it comes to the education of their children, parents - often with advice - are best placed to determine what the right school is. What is right for one is not necessarily right for another. The idea that there is a 'one size fits all' education model to suit all children is a myth.

In Invercargill today I've seen plenty of that and had several excellent visits to a variety of schools and programmes:

* James Hargest High School, Student Support Centre
* Waihopi Primary School, Park Syndicate
* Ruru Special School
* Enrich@ilt, which is part of the Gifted Kids Programme network - a One Day School which was launched during the recent Gifted Awareness Week and
* No. 10 - Invercargill Secondary Schools Network

Special Needs
There was much flurry around an IHC report released recently that purported that mainstreaming was the only style of schooling suitable for children with special needs.

The mainstreaming philosophy is favoured by many parents. In fact, most children with special needs receive their education at their local school. All children have the legal right to attend the school closest to where they live. But this is just one option that should exist when it comes to the delivery of Special Education.

Parents - of all children - deserve to have the freedom to decide the kind of schooling that best suits their children's needs. Inclusive schools favoured at the expense of other options for special needs students - special schools and satellite units - takes away that freedom and locks special needs students into the very 'one size fits all' education model that denies parents viable options for their children.

I absolutely support the right of parents of children with special needs to choose and send their children to an inclusive or mainstream school. However, they do not have the right to impose their beliefs on the parents of other special needs students in a way that would limit their choices and options - as is implied in the report.

Many parents, after seeking advice and investigating all possibilities, choose special schools or satellite units where they are available as the schooling option that is best for their child.

Both ACT and National campaigned for greater choice in education during the 2008 election and have pledged to continue this work in Government. As part of this, the National-ACT Confidence & Supply Agreement states that both Parties will work together to:

"increase the education choices available to parents and pupils so families have more freedom to select schooling options that best meet the individual needs of their children."

As Associate Minister of Education I am responsible for conducting a review of Special Education that will identify current difficulties and possible solutions, and I welcome comments from everyone who has a vested interest in this very important area.

The review will also consider funding issues and ways of allocating the extra resources promised before the election. Despite having had to make some difficult decisions in Budget 2009, an additional $51 million over four years has been allocated to enable more children with high needs to receive support through Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes (ORRS).

Further, a flow-on effect should see children with moderate special education needs also receive more support.

Gifted and Talented
Although we parents all consider our children to be talented, one of the biggest obstacles that a gifted child faces is simply being recognised as such. This is partly due to the stereotypical image of a gifted child being one that is far in advance of their years and, for example, having the ability to undertake university level studies while still attending school.

Many parents worry that their gifted child can become isolated from others, while other gifted children are over-looked at school because they may have learning problems - such as dyslexia - or problems with co-ordination.

These children often become confused, lonely and frustrated. They can become bored at school and feel they don't belong - which can lead to low self-esteem, or behavioural problems and under-achievement. Some are teased and bullied at school, and others will purposely under-achieve to fit in with their peers.

Gifted children often feel isolated or strange because they don't fit in. Frequently they haven't met other gifted children and are reassured when they do find others with similar life and learning experiences. Because they can find it difficult to connect with their peers, they can miss out on the socialising experiences that other children have.

I firmly believe we must celebrate success in whatever form it may take. As a country, it is vital that we recognise achievement and provide positive encouragement to our gifted and talented children and young people - whether that be in academic, artistic, or sporting fields.

It is, therefore, encouraging to see the work of the many organisations that focus on gifted children and the schools that provide programmes for these students. Gifted Awareness Week and One Day Schools are just two initiatives that encourage young people to develop their special talents and enable them to grow and gain confidence - not just in that particular area, but in other learning areas.

There is, and always has been under successive Governments, little public funding of Gifted and Talented children. The Ministry of Education has had an advisory group in place for several years. This group is due to be re-organised, and I am working with the Ministry on a number of options to improve the way in which expertise and assistance is provided to schools in this area.

Joint ventures between schools and a number of organisations that provide quality programmes for students now is one way of maximising the passion and skill of those working in the area.

A rising tide really does raise all ships, and the downstream effects of developing and strengthening gifts and talents is beneficial to the educational outcomes of all students.

One area where there are significant gaps for teachers - both in Special Education and Gifted and Talented - is in undergraduate training and professional development. Until our teachers are equipped to provide quality teaching, we cannot expect the best to be provided to students. There is work to be done in this area.

Under the Education ACT of 1877 education was to be free, secular and compulsory for children aged seven-13. Today the Government funds education for students aged five-19. But nowhere is it written that the Government must provide the education outcomes, own education property or even employ the teachers and staff.

Take roading, for example. While Governments are committed to building roads that are free to drive on, they often contract private companies to plan, build and maintain them. So why not in education?

I see no impediment to the Government contracting private organisations to provide education - so long as that provision is cost-effective, performs well and is of a high quality. Providing choice means providing options for parents and students - a 'one size fits all' State-run model provides only one option which, by its very nature, offers no choice at all.

It is very important that all schools are able to focus on the needs of students and parents, rather than on the demands of central agencies.

I want principals and teachers to lead learning; I want schools to get on with teaching and boards to provide proactive governance. Valuable time and energy shouldn't be wasted on satisfying an over-powering and needless bureaucracy. Our sole aim needs to be delivering the best education outcomes for all children and young people so they have all the tools and opportunities with which to reach their full potential.

We need to place high trust in leaders at the front line, and encourage and promote self-managing schools. This means strong educational leadership in every school is critical to achieving education goals be that State, integrated, independent, Rudolph Steiner - whatever the philosophy.

Thank you again for the work that you do. It is valuable and valued.


Public Support Adds Pressure For Original 'Three Strikes'

Posted on 26 Jul 2009

ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett today released new information showing that an overwhelming 75 percent of New Zealanders support ACT's 'Three Strikes' policy and 73 percent of New Zealanders advocate National adopting it as official Government policy.

"The results of this independent public survey show very clearly that New Zealanders have had enough of, and want real action on, serious violent crime, Mr Garrett said.

"There are currently two forms of the 'Three Strikes' policy: ACT's policy – under which any violent offender found guilty of committing a serious violent crime for the third time will automatically receive a mandatory non parole jail sentence of 25 years – and National's ineffective version, which requires the imposition of a five-year sentence before a conviction for a specific offence can count as a strike.

"National has only agreed to support 'Three Strikes' to Select Committee with the added condition of the five-year minimum term of imprisonment which will result in very few - if any - violent offenders being affected by 'Three Strikes'.

"The survey results are entirely consistent with most of the submissions to the Select Committee – the vast majority are in favour of 'Three Strikes' and recognise that to be effective, the additional requirement of a five-year sentence MUST be deleted.

"The 77 victims ACT campaigned on have now increased to 79 – the most recent victim a Samoan choirboy killed by a gang member with 48 previous convictions.

"The people have spoken, and 75 percent of New Zealanders cannot be ignored. New Zealanders know that 'Three Strikes', once fully in effect, will save lives. It is now time for the Government to take action," Mr Garrett said.

To view survey results click here.


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