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Act MP caught out

Written By: - Date published: 12:56 pm, February 25th, 2009 - 44 comments
Categories: act, crime - Tags: , , ,

small-garrettRethinking Crime and Punishment Director, Kim Workman, has caught Act MP David Garrett being less than honest about how many extra prisoners his draconian three strike law world create (the answer is about 14,000).

In a particularly aggressive media release yesterday Garrett claimed Workman’s figures were false.

Unfortunately for Garrett, Workman’s OIA request on the matter turned up not only the figures that Garrett claimed were wrong but a letter from corrections to Garrett providing those figures and dated December 2007.

Some of you will recall how much energy Act Party leader Rodney Hide devoted to chasing down Winston’s lies about a little over a hundred thousand dollars worth of political funding.

My question is what will he do about one of his own MPs who appears to have lied about information critical to criminal legislation that could cost taxpayers billions?

44 comments on “Act MP caught out ”

  1. burt 1

    All Garrett needs is a big sign with “NO” printed on it and he’ll be fine….

    If Rodney were to follow the standards set by Helen Clark then he can just ignore this and let Garrett tell more and more porkies. His supporters would defend him simply because they are stupid and the low standards would be ignored….

    I hope Rodney proves he has more integrity than HC.

  2. Peter Martin 2


  3. @ work 3

    Well thats his first strike…

  4. Graeme 4

    In a particularly aggressive media release yesterday Garrett claimed he had been informed by corrections that that figure was unobtainable.

    No he didn’t. At least not at the link you provide. Indeed the media release from Garrett provides a number that Corrections in fact gave him.

    One explanation for the difference between the figures is that Garrett’s figures rest on the definition of serious offence in his draft three strikes bill. There is a now a different definition, that both adds and removes offences.

    I suspect that both sets of figures are wrong, however, as neither seems to have taken account of the provision in the actual bill that ignores as strikes any offending which doesn’t result in a sentence of 5 or more years.

  5. IrishBill 5

    Graeme, you’re right. I’ll change that.

  6. @ work 6

    Sorry burt, you seem confused, were on thestandard not kiwiblog, maybe youd like to retrospectively move your comment to the correct site

  7. Duncan 7

    God, you are a dreadful bore Graeme. Do you ever contribute anything other than nitpicking and pedantry?

  8. Rex Widerstrom 8

    So, bottom line: Neither its creator nor Corrections nor anyone else has the slightest clue how many people will be flung into jail and left to rot as a result of this law.

    We have only the vaguest idea of how many more prison beds we’ll need, and while we’re waiting we’ll just double, triple and quadruple bunk people and let the poor COs sort out the resultant tensions and violence.

    We do have evidence that such a law is not particularly effective as a deterrent (for reasons Lew elegantly explains on this thread at Kiwipolitico) and could conceivably lead to some criminals choosing to kill robbery or rape victims to lessen their chances of being caught for a third strike.

    But hey, let’s do it anyway, huh? After all, it plays well to the cheap seats and that’s what governing is all about these days.

  9. Matthew Pilott 9

    Classic: “Garrett to Workman: ‘prove it’.”

    Workman’s release – we both got the same info, it said x, and I wonder why you chose to ignore it.

    Burt – are all Labour Supporters all ‘Stupid’? that’s the sum of your input to this conversation so far. the inane sniping from the edges discounted of course (’emotive BS Spin? Really? The two press releases make for an interesting contrast)…

    Are you upset that Garrett seems to have been caught out deliberately lying? He is an ACT MP – maybe you should be asking a few questions instead of trying to distract from the topic, Burt, or you’ll prove that the ‘Stupid’ ones support ACT.

    Well at least one ‘Stupid’ person; I’d hope most have more integrity that you, because you’re saying it’s fine for an MP to lie as long as the leader ‘acts with more integrity that HC’, whatever that emotive BS spin means.

    • burt 9.1

      Still smarting from being caught having no idea what you were talking about in the Once bitten thread…..

      To answer what might be your question: No I don’t unconditionally support the Govt based on the colour of their party flag. IF Garrett has been deliberately misleading the voters (and possibly parliament) then he should be censured. End of story.

  10. burt 10

    Matthew Pilott

    Burt – are all Labour Supporters all ‘Stupid’?

    The ones that unconditionally support Labour irrespective of what Labour do Yes. The ones who justify what Labour do based on “National did it as well’ Yes. The ones who fail to understand the difference between what is politically expedient and what is legally necessary yes. The ones who can’t differentiate between a party political broadcast and facts Yes.

    But the same also apples in the other direction. To keep things simple and to save poor Felix from needing to talk about me rather than the issue I’ll spell that out.

    Burt – are all Labour National Supporters all ‘Stupid’?

    The ones that unconditionally support Labour National irrespective of what Labour National do Yes. The ones who justify what Labour National do based on “National Labour did it as well’ Yes. The ones who fail to understand the difference between what is politically expedient and what is legally necessary yes. The ones who can’t differentiate between a party political broadcast and facts Yes.

    Burt – are all Labour ACT Supporters all ‘Stupid’?

    The ones that unconditionally support Labour ACT irrespective of what Labour ACT do Yes. The ones who justify what Labour ACT do based on ” Labour did it as well’ Yes. The ones who fail to understand the difference between what is politically expedient and what is legally necessary yes. The ones who can’t differentiate between a party political broadcast and facts Yes.

    Is that clear enough form you ?

    • Matthew Pilott 10.1

      Yes, Burt it’s much more clear than your original statment,

      If Rodney were to follow the standards set by Helen Clark then he can just ignore this and let Garrett tell more and more porkies. His supporters would defend him simply because they are stupid and the low standards would be ignored .

      which stated unequivocally that Supporters of Helen Clark are Stupid. Perhaps you should save the long-winded sarcastic replies for times where you didn’t make your point so badly in the original statement, it loses the effect otherwise and you look a tad silly.

      You also might want to make statements stronger than ‘I hope Rodney proves he has more integrity than HC.’ if you want any of us to believe you’re able to hold ACT to the same standard of any other party. I mean you wouldn’t to give the impression you think it’s ok for Garrett to lie, as long as when caught Hide does some emotive BS spin ‘integrity’ thing, do you? Is a ‘censure’ some emotive BS spin thing too, or is there more to it? What do you think should happen?

      Still smarting from being caught having no idea what you were talking about in the Once bitten thread

      No Burt, you’ve failed to make that point and have been failing since Jesus borrowed that $5 off you, but seeing as we’ve been over it enough and so has everyone else I knew better than to bother. Redlogix had another go, made the same point that’s been made all along and there’s still no sign of it getting through. You know I’m seriously debating deleting this because you’ll probably get all soap-boxey again. meh, it’s easy enough to tune out.

      • burt 10.1.1

        My opinion is that MP’s must be held to the highest ethical standard by their party leader. This opinion was most unpopular in the context of Helen Clark not standing up against Winston’s “NO’ episode. However I suspect the concept of MP’s being held accountable will be quite fashionable on this site when we are talking about National and/or ACT.

      • Felix 10.1.2


        “MP’s must be held to the highest ethical standard by their party leader.”

        (Assuming that the apostrophe is just a grammatical error and you haven’t missed a word out) Fair enough, but that’s not a relationship which ever existed between Clark and Peters, so why are you trying to suggest that in your next sentence?

        Good to know though that you won’t accept any dodging of difficult issues from your mate Rodney.

  11. Felix 11

    Who couldn’t predict that these SST freaks would be an albatross for ACT’s neck?

    It’s tempting to say “lie down with dogs – wake up with fleas” but in this case it’s more like fleas lying down with maggots.

    • Rex Widerstrom 11.1

      Yes, Act’s policy previously was, to me at least, the curate’s egg (parts of it were quite good… though I could say the same about the policies of almost any party except Dunne’s, since he doesn’t have any).

      But now the overwhelming stench emanating from this particular part of the egg is enough to so thoroughly turn my stomach I doubt I could bring myself to consume any of the rest of it.

  12. burt 12


    but that’s not a relationship which ever existed between Clark and Peters

    Well Clark wasn’t “His” party leader but she was the leader of the Labour-led govt and was therefore responsible for the conduct of ministers that made up that govt. It seems that I’m not going to get much traction here though because as you have pointed out HC only had responsibility for the govt and not Winston who we all know made his own rules and that was OK because he was keeping Labour in power.

    I guess if John Key comes out says he is comfortable with the position Garrett has taken we will be quite happy with that as well because Key is not Garrett’s leader ? Yes ?

    Come on cut the crap – it’s not acceptable when a minister of the govt tells porkies and is not held accountable by the PM. Irrespective of the technicalities of my grammar or the coalition arrangements. The flavour of the PM’s own party vs the ministers party provides wiggle room for apologists but is not a justification for doing nothing.

    • Ianmac 12.1

      burt: It is true that John Key has made a virtue of holding “every member of a Government that he leads to a very high standard.” He said this many times before the Election and after especially in relation to Peters. Seemed to be asking for trouble because sooner or later……………..

    • Felix 12.2

      So what are you expecting from Key if it turns out that Garrett has been telling porkies? And what do you expect your mate Rodney to do about it?

      What to you is an acceptable response, given the very high standards of conduct you expected from the previous lot?

      • burt 12.2.1


        The prat answer – Rodney is not my mate and I don’t know why you insist on this non-issue propaganda continually saying he is. Sure I know him and he knows my name when we meet, but that’s about as far as it goes really. If he never saw me again I don’t think he would miss me.

        The real answer: The first thing that needs to occur is for the facts to be established. Not wishy-washy mamby-pamby weasel words about it could be this or it could be that, but hard cold facts – the best most educated estimate of the prison population impacts out in the open for discussion.

        Secondly Rodney needs to front foot this. If he thinks Garrett was deliberately misleading in his answers then he must follow the established procedure for dealing with members of his party who have mislead the public. If Rodney determines that Garrett was answering to be best of his knowledge at the time (given the information in this thread, that is possible) then he still needs to coach Garrett on how to deal with these situations and make some public statements about Garrett having already used up one of his 3 strikes (as @work states way back up this thread).

        The last govt were appalling with regard to maintaining public confidence in the integrity of MP’s, the current lot would be well advised to set the standards high right from the start and keep them high. The way ACT dealt with Donna Huata vs how Labour dealt with Taito Field, Parker, Peters, Benson-Pope (add hundreds of names here..) gives me confidence that they will do the right thing. Time will tell.

        • Felix

          Why do you think Garrett should get “3 strikes”? What does that mean?

          • burt


            I actually don’t know. Before the previous bunch of reprobates showed how it’s done I thought serious issues like misleading the public or the house had serious consequences. Crickey under Labour not even misleading the house, the public and apparently the PM, while breaching electoral funding laws with undeclared donations had any significant consequences. Certainly no criminal consequences. So as for precedent to draw on I have no idea. I laughed way back when I saw what @work had written, It seemed appropriate.

            What would you suggest as appropriate course of action if Garrett is proven to be telling porkies?

          • Felix

            I don’t really know either, but at the very least I’d like to see it scrutinized visibly in the media so the populace can make their own judgments.

  13. Quoth the Raven 13

    That kind of incarceration rate would put us in leauge with Cuba, Russia, Rwanda and the US. We’re already worse than the likes of China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and other stans. Slipping and sliding towards a prison state. Happy happy joy joy for the likes of Garret and Hide.

    • higherstandard 13.1


      I’m sure you know some of those states that you mention we are worse than have a somewhat more extreme solution to certain crimes than incarceration.

    • burt 13.2

      Perhaps Labour should move that an addition question be added to the referendum on smacking….

      A word-smithed version of;

      Should the ACT party ‘3 strikes your out’ policy be enacted during this term of the National-led govt?

  14. burt 14

    So just a random poll, If the impacts on prison population make the ‘3 strikes’ policy a bad policy then should we take the Monty Python approach ?

    “The only way to bring the crime rate down is to reduce the number of offenses”. If there were no offenses then the prison population would drop to zero quite quickly.

    I don’t think it makes any sense to say that the prison population as at today (status quo) is about right. Doing some sort todays level is OK more is bad, less is bad is just completely stupid IMHO.

    The issue here is how we deal with recidivist dangerous offenders, not the prison population as a consequence of changing how we manage dangerous repeat offenders. The horse must go before the card.

  15. burt 15

    For what it’s worthy, I think the [x] strikes your out philosophy has enormous merit. I don’t know if 3 is the correct number.

    Anyone who has ever had much exposure to criminal offending data would quickly note (aside from the obvious – all criminals have at least one conviction) that the vast majority of criminals have few convictions, many have up to a hundred, few have more than 1,000.

    Picking a number becomes a statistics game, capping people at 3 serious convictions will stop people getting hundreds or thousands of convictions. The question is, is the cost in terms of prisons worth it in terms of thousands of people that never became victims. Ask the Kuckenbecker family?

    IMHO the issue of prison population is a non issue in criminal justice policies. You structure the law to create order and public safety. The prison population is the consequence of that policy interacting with the current society. As long as you have chosen your policy well, and democratically, then the prison population is the cost of doing business.

    Just out of interest, has anyone got the numbers for how many people are currently on Home-D ?

    • RedLogix 15.1

      As long as you have chosen your policy well, and democratically, then the prison population is the cost of doing business.

      You actually KNOW that an ever increasing population of people rotting in evil hell-hole prisons has the inevitable result of causing MORE when they are inevitably released, bitter, dysfunctional and utterly without remorse or hope.

      What you are doing is a making an unspoken gamble with yourself. You calculate correctly that the probability of this particular person offending against YOU personally while they are in prison is zero.

      Yet you also calculate that the increased probability of that person offending against YOU personally when released is much less than the decreased probablity of them offending against YOU when they are inside.

      You personally expect to come out ahead on the gamble, while of course society as a whole inevitably comes out behind. In other words, like all good capitalists you are seeking to privatise the gains, and socialise the loss. You talk all about how much safer you are when criminals are IN prison, but never mention the increased risk when larger numbers of unrepentant, unreformed criminals are dumped back OUT onto the streets.

      To put this in another perspective burt, consider how you might feel about prisons as ‘cost of doing business’, if instead of living in a nation with millions of people to spread that cost over… it was just you and one other person living on your own on an isolated island. Imagine that this person had committed some offence against you, and for this reason you had the power to hold this person in prison, quite safely for just 12 months. But at the end of that time your power over them ceased, you HAD to release the prisoner, and you HAD to find a way to live together.

      Under this regime you can privatise the gain (keeping the offender locked up and unable to commit further offence for a period), but you can no longer socialise the potential increased loss when they are released. You and you alone get to personally bear the consequences. How might you be thinking about your prison system now?

      • Felix 15.1.1

        Of course ACT really wants to get rid of public-owned-and-run prisons so it’s not really in their interest politically to have them run well, or to seen to be run well.

        Meanwhile the SST wing of ACT is in all likelyhood laying the ground floor of a death-penalty campaign.

      • burt 15.1.2


        Your example of two people on an island is reductio ad absurdum but crosses over where Felix mentions the death penalty.

        The moral consequences of the death penalty are easily ignored in the criminal justice system of two people on an island.

        I said I didn’t know if 3 was the correct number. I think you need a limit for how many times you trust people to behave in society if they continually, in the most diabolical ways, repeatedly demonstrate no respect for the rights of other people.

        It’s not about ME being a gambler, it’s about societies right to exclude the few individuals who repeatedly show no respect for their basic human rights.

        • RedLogix

          Your example of two people on an island is reductio ad absurdum

          Not at all. It is simply a thought experiment. The point of it is to make you take personal responsibility for the consequences of your ideas. (You righties are big on personal responsibility aren’t you?)

          it’s about societies right to exclude the few individuals who repeatedly show no respect for their basic human rights

          No-one is arguing about the right of society to imprison offenders burt, but the problem is that the way you propose going about INCREASES the total long-term risk to society.

          But as with most right wingers, you privatise the short-term benefit of having more criminals IN prison, but attempt to shove onto everyone else the cost inevitably incurred when they are released OUT of prison.

          • burt

            Who said anything about releasing them apart from you ?

            Recidivist dangerous offenders = locked up for life.

            Following your example which you claim is valid. After my mate on the island has been released after the first year and immediately beats me up again (why he didn’t just kill me I don’t know but it’s your example) he is locked up for another year. Immediately after his release he beats me up again so he is locked up again.

            I tell you, I’m not looking forward to his release again because he’s going to beat me up immediately and I’ll need to lock him up again .

            Tell me one more time why after [x] number of times I’m sill only locking him up for a year and tell me again why I need to continue playing this game as long as we both live ?

          • burt

            “You righties are big on personal responsibility aren’t you?”

            Why do you want to make it personal ?.. I can also do that…

            You lefties are big on no responsibility aren’t you …. Why lock him up at all? Not locking up anyone will keep prison numbers down and isn’t that the only consideration ?

  16. Joshua 16

    Anyone else think that Garrett looks a bit like that crazy Austrian guy Fritzl, or whatever his name is/was?

  17. Garrett having already used up one of his 3 strikes (as @work states way back up this thread).

    That ‘stach is probably worth another strike IMHO…

  18. bobo 18

    He looks like Rodney Hide’s stunt double with hair.

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