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National is seeking Government support for a law change that would see benefits cut to offenders who don’t comply with court-ordered community service, MP Brett Hudson says.

Mr Hudson currently has a Private Member’s Bill in front of the Social Services and Community Select Committee that seeks to provide the Department of Corrections with the option to request an offender on community service have their benefit reduced for non-compliance.

“We’re very surprised NZ First isn’t backing this Bill,” Mr Hudson says.

“New Zealanders expect people to comply with their sentences and it’s right that they would expect Parliament to support that.

“It’s disappointing that Government members cannot see the benefit in having a way to respond to a person’s failure to meet those obligations other than locking them up.

“Community sentences offer opportunities to offenders other than jail time.  With those opportunities come responsibilities.

National Party Social Development Spokesperson Louise Upston says the Bill offers a very simple measure to ensure offenders comply with their community sentence.

“It’s consistent with the previous National led Government approach to welfare reforms, which places social obligations on those being supported by hard working taxpayers.

“It’s effectively another tool in the toolbox for Corrections. By offering an alternative management tool, this Bill would mean not subjecting offenders to the stigma of further prosecution.

“Community sentences are an important part of the justice system, however there is an expectation from the public that those who are sentenced, they will serve their sentence,” Ms Upston says. 

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