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Cosgrove: Bail Law Changes All About Slogans And Posturing, Not Substance And Protection

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Clayton Cosgrove
Clayton Cosgrove

12 December 2008 - Labour law and order spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says the National Government is rushing through bail law changes that amount to "nothing more than smoke and mirrors."

Mr Cosgrove says: "National's plan to repeal the 2007 Amendment to the Bail Act is not about making New Zealand communities safer. The change is all about National trying to pretend to New Zealanders that it is tough on crime. New Zealanders as a whole will not feel safer as a result of this Bill if it is passed," he said.

"If National really was tough on crime, it would be moving decisively to implement Labour's legislation to ensure criminals serve two-thirds of their sentences before getting parole.

"Instead it is posturing on bail law changes, knowing full well that only a handful of alleged offenders, about 75 on the muster according to what John Key said this week, may be denied bail under its changes. In fact, according to the briefing Justice gave Labour, only 10 more remand beds will be needed next year. To put that in perspective, over 15,000 are remanded in custody each year."

Mr Cosgrove said the Labour Government amended the Bail Act in 2007 simply to respond sensibly to a series of judicial decisions. "The amendment clarified the previous law to ensure that where there is 'real and significant' risk to the community bail should be denied.

"The amended law did not make it easier to get bail, as National claims. The reality is that the percentage of violent offenders who offended while on bail declined steadily under Labour, as acknowledged by National in its Bill.

"National's misleading claims are also certainly not supported by remand figures. The remand prisoner population grew by about 30 percent from 2004 to 2008."

Mr Cosgrove said National had already begun posturing on law and order issues. "As every week of its administration passes, it will be forced to posture more and more. Law and order and safer communities cannot be achieved by slogans. National will soon discover that, if it is not blinded by its own rhetoric."

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