The National Party will be well represented at this week’s Criminal Justice Summit, but we’re extremely doubtful it will come back with any good reforms National’s Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“National wants to ensure any reforms to the Justice system will reduce the crime rate but also keep victims at the heart of the justice system. Instead, the Justice Summit is set to be a talkfest between people with the same goal – to soften the punishments for serious offenders.

“Justice Minister Andrew Little says that the stories of victims shouldn’t be told in the media while the summit is happening. He wants to restrict the voices of victims, while letting violent criminals onto the streets to reduce prison numbers.

“This is completely hypocritical, as Mr Little has repeatedly talked in the media about the stories of offenders. Just today he was in the news defending a man who attacked his ex-girlfriend’s car with a sledgehammer. He goes as far as saying the man was ‘obviously provoked’.

“His attitude shows he’s firmly on the side of offenders and doesn’t want to know about victims of crime.

“The Government has only invited speakers who are going to tell it what it wants to hear and isn’t bothering to listen to victims who are worried about its plans to go soft. The agenda reads like that of a yoga convention with sessions like ‘individual reflection’ and ‘hope’.

“Typical of a Government which has established 140 working groups but is refusing to listen to anyone it disagrees with, the Government has its agenda and that’s to go soft on crime. It wants to reduce the prison population by a third, but it doesn’t have a plan to reduce crime and nothing on the Summit’s agenda suggests this is a focus.

“Instead it’s just going to soften up our bail, parole and sentencing laws to make it easier for criminals to get out of prison early and harder for them to get sent there in the first place. That’s just going to make our communities less safe and we won’t stand for it.”

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