Legislation that creates special orders to allow for the indefinite detentions of certain offenders raises questions around the Government’s good faith in advancing it, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Charles Chauvel says.
"The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill, introduced today, was first promised by Judith Collins and John Key almost exactly one year ago, during the election campaign.
"Labour raised concerns five months ago around the fact the Government had not delivered on its election promise. We offered to discuss with Ms Collins the problems she said the Bill was designed to address, and also - in light of reports of divisions in Cabinet about the shape of the Bill - the intended design of the legislative solution.
"We heard nothing from Judith Collins until the introduction of the legislation in the House today. In the interim, one of the five to 12 offenders it specifically targets - Stewart Murray Wilson - has already been released.
"The delay of 12 months in introducing legislation first foreshadowed during the election campaign, allowing one of the targeted offenders to be released last month, and refusing to consult with the opposition about the problem or the solution are all factors which call into question the good faith with which the Government is dealing with this issue.
"The Labour caucus will discuss its position on the Bill at its regular meeting next Tuesday.
"My recommendation will be to allow the legislation to go to a select committee, in recognition that there is an issue here - as we noted publicly in April.
"Given the Government’s refusal to engage, however, detailed scrutiny of the Bill at select committee - including hearing expert evidence and seeing official advice - is the only option open to the Opposition by which to judge the seriousness of the issue, the adequacy of existing tools with which to deal with it, and the fitness for purpose of the Government’s proposed legislative solution.
"Judith Collins needs to improve her consultation processes if she wants to be taken seriously in her portfolio, especially on issues where she should not be playing party politics.
"Meanwhile it remains to be seen how many others will leave custody while the Bill goes through the legislative process," Charles Chauvel said.
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