Written By: - Date published: 10:14 am, October 6th, 2008 - 28 comments
Categories: crime, national - Tags:

I see National has released a knee-jerk reactionary crime policy this morning, and it’s been reported largely uncritically by a news media that’s made a fortune fostering public fear of crime at a time when crime rates are falling and resolution rates are on the rise.

It’s frankly depressing that our level of public debate has got to this. Hopefully we’ll get something up later today with some proper analysis, but for now I’ll leave it to Johnny Cash. This one goes out to you, Mr Key:

28 comments on “Depressing”

  1. Dom 1

    Question for National – why do you think the largest spike in violent crime in the past 40 or so years was in the early to mid 1990s when you were in power?

  2. AndrewE 2

    Maybe you could explain why it is depressing?

    Making repeat offenders serve their full sentence seems like a good idea to me.

    You may argue that jail doesn’t work – well it works better than just releasing repeat offenders to reoffend which is what we appear to have now.

  3. Anita 3


    Very few murderers in NZ kill more than once. So National won’t actually reduce the murder rate, just the locked-up-ness rate.

    What’re they gonna do to actually reduce crime?

  4. Chris 4

    On its own I don’t think the idea of making it harder to get parole is a bad one if you screw up whilst you’re out. Surely this happens already though? It would be a disservice if the parole board didn’t take that into account surely?

    Building more prisons whilst the economy is tanking seems like the wrong focus too. How about business dev grants if foreign capital dries up?
    captcha: ception wonders heh

  5. bill brown 5

    So fkn NatRad put Garth McV and Peter Williams on to have an argument.

    Way to further the debate, NR – dick heads.

  6. Jennifer 6

    So murderers never kill twice? Graeme Burton killed again whilst on parole and there was another chap, a Maori, who killed his girlfriend and whilst on bail killed the two year old daughter of his mistress. Think it was Rororua way. Do you think these men would have thought twice about these murders if they knew that they would return to jail for life? Who knows – but letting killers into the public to murder two perfectly innocent human beings seems to me a bad idea.

    [Tane: “there was another chap, a Maori” – I’m sorry, but wtf?]

  7. Anita 7


    The point of parole is that the person goes back into the community with strict enforceable rules (e.g. no alcohol, no drugs, must live in a certain place) and they go back to gaol if they breach them. If parole is removed then we release them back into our towns with absolutely no rules.

    There’s a complex balance, obviously we’re far far safer if people’s re-entry into the community is heavily controlled and the controls come off gradually. So the parole board works pretty hard to find ways to put people out on parole with very strict conditions rather than keep in locked up for another three years then have no control at all.

    If one believes that locking people up for named periods of time is usually the right solution (which I personally don’t) then structuring sentences as something like 15 years gaol plus 3 years parole, with the ability to apply for early parole at the 2/3 point based on good behaviour and rehabilitation (or whatever) makes more sense. Then if we want to force someone to serve their “whole sentence” there would still be a parole period at the end (15+3)

  8. Anita 8


    I said “very few”. Note that the Burton example is the only one of your two which counts (the other was, if you’ve described it accurately, bail not parole).

    It’s also worth remembering we already have a sentence of preventative detention. Graeme Burton could have been sentenced to preventative detention at his first murder.

  9. randal 9

    the burton case exemplifies the lack of any theoretical understanding of psychopathology in new zealand. in our cheap cost cutting way we believe that we can reason with people who are by defintion unreasonable. So if anyone can make an absolutely proper ballsup diagnosing mental illness a kiwi can.
    and bill brown
    didnt hear the natrad debate but mcvicar is the one making all the noise. the reason there is no capital punishment in New Zealand is because most people know that the judidiciary and all the rest are kneejerk frameup artists and not to be trusted so chew on that.

  10. higherstandard 10

    “If parole is removed then we release them back into our towns with absolutely no rules.”

    I think under the proposal they will still monitor criminals who come into this category.

    “Those denied parole under this category would also be monitored for a fixed term when they were released, “rather than being left to their own devices”.”

  11. higherstandard 11

    Randal are you actually D4J ?

    If not can we get the two of you in the same room to have a debate streamed live on the internet – it would be magnificent.

  12. Janet 12

    Sean Plunket asked a reasonable question about some evidence for this policy as a deterrent and of course John Key couldn’t/didn’t answer.

    If only some of these politicians had people in their families who committed crimes (and it would help if they were poor and brown, rather than white-collar money crimes) and then they would start to contextualise it all a lot more.

    And what about people who stab and kill taggers more than once – or those who kill abusive partners? Do they get the same vilification. Please some evidence-based policy, not knee jerk stuff.

  13. Julie 13

    I have to agree with Anita, and also add that it would be absolute hell to work in a prison (as a guard etc) if there were no rewards at all for good behaviour, in particular parole and early release. We would need a lot more prison guards if we went down that track.

  14. bill brown 14

    HS, Russell Brown on Hard News:

    Other violent offenders will lose the chance of parole over the last third of their sentence, but will be monitored by some unspecified means after their sentences end. Which sounds like parole without all the established practices and monitoring infrastructure, and without the incentive to behave well in prison.

    ’cause I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  15. Anita 15


    [Tane: “there was another chap, a Maori” – I’m sorry, but wtf?]

    Thank-you! I had no idea what to say to that. My only thought was “And lo, all my prejudices were confirmed” but I thought that was too obscure.

  16. higherstandard 16

    If you can’t say something better than Russell Brown I pity you.

  17. randal 17

    hs there is a normative view of the world and a positive view of the world. in other words the way you want it and the way it is. Wandering around pretending that all is well when it is not is the type of ostrich beahviour that intelligent new zealanders know well. These people understand that there are two tiers in new zealand society and a third adventitious one clinging to the wannabee upper crust feeding them endless lines of garbage designed to confuse by never confornting the issues in a proper way and the other half of the wannabee upper crust will always have it this way because they know that confused people are easier to manipulate. chew on that. and no hs I am not anyone else. I am me. ok wif you?

  18. bill brown 18

    HS, you can take your sanctimonious holier than thou attitude and stick it up your arse.

  19. higherstandard 19

    Bill Brown

    I don’t understand are you accusing me of being Helen Clark or Michael Cullen ?

  20. randal 20

    I think he is asserting that you are a fool.

  21. Anita 21

    Wow, isn’t this fun.

  22. higherstandard 22

    Not really Anita – time for lunch though

  23. randal 23

    watch out for hooton. he’ll give you the poison apple just because he’s like that…

  24. sean 24

    Janet – Key shouldn’t need to argue – the policy is not about deterring criminals, its about keeping Kiwi’s safe from them by never letting them out of prison.

  25. Ben R 25

    “Sean Plunket asked a reasonable question about some evidence for this policy as a deterrent and of course John Key couldn?t/didn?t answer.”

    Wouldn’t the point of this policy be incapacitating those who are clearly dangerous & can’t be rehabilitated? I’m not sure though that keeping someone in prison past a certain age (say 60) is going to be of much benefit though as criminal offending tends to be a young man’s activity.

  26. randal 26

    sean..until there is a clearly developed understanding of the psychopathology of criminals instead of wooly heads trying to earn bonus by getting early releases for prisoners they have reasoned with then there is no likelihood of the outcome you so desire. So you should be calling for the introduction of better standards in the schools of criminology and more importantly psychology. All these “NICE” people studying rats and pigeons and they haven’t got a clue when it comes to dealing with people.

  27. Felix 27

    “HS, you can take your sanctimonious holier than thou attitude and stick it up your arse”

    At least he’s stopped trying to pass off as a doctor.

  28. randal 28

    nah he is just hootons familiar trying to hit the bigtime and score a job after the elction. only problem is natoinal are not going to make it. they just are not good enough.

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