Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Press Release from Michael Bott - National's Bail Changes Mindless.

Justice Minister Simon Power’s latest announcements regarding the toughening up of bail laws (Radio New Zealand, 15 March 2011) and reversing the onus from Police to the person charged are an example of mindless electioneering by a Party devoid of principle who wish to divert attention from their mismanagement of the economy by trying to drum beat on “law n order”, Labour’s Wairarapa candidate Michael Bott says.

A 2006 Cabinet paper showed that 15% of all people refused bail and sent to prison until their charges were resolved – and who were often in prison for months – were never convicted. Further, only about half of those remanded in custody end up being sentenced to prison when they are convicted.

Put bluntly the fact you are charged with an offence is not proof that you are guilty of the offence. The real question, if we take the presumption of innocence seriously, is whether a person accused of crime poses a real or significant risk of offending, absconding or interfering with evidence.

The real issue is the economy, currently unemployment is growing, we are borrowing $300 million per month, of which $120 million goes to fund tax cuts we cannot afford. So far the only solutions from National are cycle ways, flogging off state assets that actually earn the Government money, and raising GST which has pushed up the price of food, petrol and education. We know that unemployment is a driver of crime, if National were serious about crime they should be looking at economic growth and creating jobs.

In the Wairarapa there are now nearly five times as many on the unemployment benefit as in 2007. Since National has been in government unemployment has nearly doubled in our area by 83%. National has done nothing to help our area – we didn’t even get a kilometre of cycle-way Michael Bott said.

New Zealanders should not be duped into thinking this latest announcement is anything other than a cynical attempt by a clueless government who wishes to distract the public from its poor economic performance. It is shameful that Power seeks to attack the presumption of innocence in a way that would see more New Zealanders being deprived of liberty for charges they will never be convicted of as a ruse to push hopeless economic performance under the carpet Michael Bott says.

No comments:

Post a Comment