Incoming Prime Minister Winston Peters’ first act should be to keep his word to voters and veto Andrew Little’s proposed repeal of the three strikes law, National’s Justice Spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“For decades Winston Peters has been a champion for the three strikes policy requiring tougher sentences for violent offenders. He needs to reassure the country that under his leadership the three strikes law will not be repealed and our bail laws won’t be weakened,” Mr Mitchell says.

“This would be a deep betrayal of Mr Peters’ supporters and New Zealanders generally. Three strikes is a policy that is not only supported by New Zealand First voters, but also the wider public, because it’s a policy which actually works.

“Data from the Ministry of Justice shows that there has been a 4.9 per cent reduction in ‘first strikes’ warnings and that the number of second strike offenders has decreased by 34 per cent.

“Dangerous, violent, repeat offenders are being locked away for longer, keeping our communities safer.

“New Zealanders have a right to be worried about the Government’s secret plans. New Zealanders have more cause for concern today.

“National rejects softening of bail and sentencing laws which will make our communities less safe, won’t rehabilitate any more people, and won’t prevent further crime from happening.

“To safely reduce prison numbers, you need a plan to reduce crime which this Government clearly does not have. They just want to make it easier to get out of jail regardless of the consequences.

“In Government National will reverse the repeal of the three strikes regime and the changes to sentencing and bail laws which will see more serious, violent offenders on the street.

“This will be a serious first test for Winston Peters, will he remain committed to the safety of law abiding Kiwis or will he fold to the demands of Labour and the Greens and increase the number of violent and dangerous offenders being released back into our communities.”

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