Three strikes law to stay as Labour say NZ First unlikely to support repealing it - 'This is about making good decisions, not fast decisions'

Source: 1News

The Three Strikes Law will not go before Cabinet today, after New Zealand First indicated they will be unlikely to support a repeal. 

Justice Minister Andrew Little said he acknowledged "New Zealand First has concerns about the Three Strikes repeal". 

"The discussions with NZ First are pretty clear, this is a government that is totally committed to criminal justice reform, but I think everybody would rather see a full, well-rounded package of changes that means we can reduce offending, therefore reduce the number of victims of crime."

The Three Strike law means once an offender has had their third "strike" or sentenced for their third crime, the maximum sentence is handed down, unless it is considered unjust. 

Today Mr Little told media NZ First did not want to see the repealing of Three Strikes as separate from a "broader programme of criminal justice reform".

"They are clear with me, they are totally committed to criminal justice reform. There is failure in the system we have to address."

When asked if he had "forged ahead" without checking he had support in a repeal of the law, Mr Little said: "You don't get to the point of having a paper before Cabinet without going through a variety of hoops before then."

He did not think there would be any other issues with NZ First and Green Party support in the proposed justice reforms and that the package "would be ready to go" for next year.

"This is about making good decisions, not fast decisions."

Mr Little said "the reality is that the justice system is not working and we need to make changes to make our communities safer". 

Prison bars

"Further work on a balanced reform package for a more effective criminal justice system that make our communities safer will be considered by the independent advisory panel to be appointed shortly, and progressed in August at the Criminal Justice Summit."

"We are committed to a meaningful and balanced programme of change and we will be consulting our coalition partners and the public on this over the coming months."

National Party leader Simon Bridges told Radio New Zealand today the proposal of scrapping the law could show a divide between Labour and NZ First.

"We'll see the power dynamics of that and who's really in charge... Winston Peters may take a slightly different view," Mr Bridges said.