Making room for speech criminals in prison

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has not been shy about his aim to rapidly reduce the prison population by 30 per cent and it is perhaps the only target this Government is actually going to meet. However, Labour’s ‘Hate-Speech’ law changes might put a spanner in the works, National’s Corrections spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“The Government has been moving quickly to reduce the prison population, which poses the question whether they are planning to start filling them again with people who break their new ‘hate speech’ laws which come with a maximum penalty of 3 years in jail.

“This Labour Government has taken a weak stance on all kinds of violent crime since they took office and allowed gang member numbers to flourish. They are even proposing to remove National’s Three Strike legislation which will only reduce sentences for serious offenders further.

“It seems a bit back to front that they are so willing to excuse actual violence while treating offence and insult as so egregious they should be punished by three years in prison.

“They are happy for New Zealanders to feel unsafe in their communities because patched gang members have the run of the place, but are ready to swoop in with the power of the state should someone feel a Facebook comment was insulting.

“This Government needs a reality check. New Zealanders are increasingly more concerned about their physical safety and this is what should be prioritised.”