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Knee-jerk wins again

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 am, June 22nd, 2009 - 89 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags:

Does anyone understand why prisons are so expensive to construct?

  • They’ve got to be secure
  • They’ve got to be safe for the prisoners and for others
  • They’ve got to live up to the basic conditions that are set by a civilised society (and I hope we want to be one of those)
  • They’re designed to last a hundred years and hard to seriously damage

This latest half-arsed idea of shipping container cells from that blow-hard Crusher doesn’t meet any of those parameters. In the end that’ll cost the government more than it’ll save on the cells. The cells will have to replaced every few years rather than every hundred. Every death or assault that can be blamed on Corrections using unsafe el cheapo building methods will lead to an expensive law-suit.

Let’s not be dumb. If we’re going to lock up more people do it properly.

Oh and don’t think locking more dudes up will do anything to control crime. Never has. Definitely won’t in a recession when crime goes up. The prison muster is up 700 this year thanks to the recession. The only thing that will result in fewer prisoners is less crime. That will come when economic conditions for the poor improve.

89 comments on “Knee-jerk wins again”

  1. Anita 1

    The prison muster is up 700 this year thanks to the recession

    Do you have a source for this? I’ve been completely failing to find any decent analysis of the current spike in muster  so it’d be great to real yours. I’d originally assumed it was the traditional winter spike, but they now seem to be talking about a continued higher muster.

    • poptart 1.1

      Kim Workman gave that number on Q&A.

      • Anita 1.1.1

        *nod*nod* The increase is well known, the link to the recession I hadn’t seen before and Zetetic seems very sure that’s it (rather than seasonal fluctuation or the result of other policies).

        • Merlin

          I think Zetetic always very sure of him/herself.

          Didn’t the Standard have a post a while back about the link to crime rates and unemployment? If unemployment (or more generally poverty) is on the increase, it makes sense that crime would be increasing and that will probably lead to more convictions. that’s not going to be the whole story though – Labour hired a lot more cops and National as reduced parole. That will put up prison numbers too.

          • Anita

            Yeah, Marty G had a go at crime and unemployment a while back. It unfortunately confused correlation with causation, and actually included nothing about poverty.

            I’m entirely happy with an argument that increased relative poverty leads to increased crime. But… I don’t think that proves that the current increase in prison muster is caused by the recession.

          • Merlin

            So how do you explain .9 correlation if not with causation?

            Isn’t the number one cause of poverty unemployment?

          • Anita

            Poverty doesn’t appear in any of Marty G’s figures, so there’s no correlation provided.

            Two things can have a high correlation because they’re both caused by something else, or caused by other things that are caused by the same thing.

            Take, for example, the growth of my tomato plants and the number of eggs my chooks lay in summer high correlation because both are closely linked to day length, but it would be ridiculous to say that either causes the other.

  2. gingercrush 2

    The only knee-jerk reactions are from those opposing the idea. After all, what isn’t knee jerk about comments saying, “slave/forced-labour” and “inhumane”

  3. The dog whistle is getting a good blow lately.

    Penal policy (unfortunate phrase given Worth’s and Garrett’s recent difficulties) has been tightening up for years. The current muster is heading towards 10,000, it was 6,000 a few years ago.

    Despite the fevered claims of the opposition the last Government was actually hard (oops I meant tough) on crime. Sentences increased in average length and the incarceration numbers boomed. Building four new prisons is hardly the actions of a namby pamby hit them on the back of the hand with a wet bus ticket sort of government.

    The current proposals are inhumane and I bet that Crusher calculated on people saying this. National’s promise to “toughen up” on crime will only make matters worse.

    If this was a sensible debate we would be looking at places like Finland or Sweeden and putting into place restorative measures.

    Instead of that we are looking to the US for inspiration. If you did a cold headed analysis of the economics of their system let alone the human costs you would run a million miles from following it.

    • gingercrush 3.1

      Your Labour government you so dearly love were really good about restorative justice weren’t they mickey. Even in opposition where Labour have come out with all types of pro-worker policies there is still silence on that subject. I mean Cosgrove doesn’t even think prisoners should gain building skills.

      • Pat 3.1.1

        If the US prison system is so bad, which communist utopia prison system should we be adopting?

        • gingercrush

          Um I have to agree with Mickey about the US prison system. Its terrible. But to compare New Zealand’s prison system to the US is simply nonsense.

        • Merlin

          Finland’s? Sweden’s? Demark’s? All lower prison numbers, all lower crime. Why? Lower poverty.

          • Redbaiter

            Not true.

            Socialist countries figure much higher in crime rates than non socialist countries.

            How come you don’t know this??

            How come you’re arguing on this issue when you’re this uninformed??


          • Pascal's bookie

            “DEFINITION: Note: Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence. Per capita figures expressed per 1,000 population. ”

            Anyways, what’s a ‘non-socialist country’?

          • Redbaiter

            Yeah Pascal of course.

            Japan is too unsophisticated to collect correct crime stats.

            You guys are religionists.

            When the facts show you something that confronts your socialist dogma, you go into instant denial.

          • Pascal's bookie

            So is Japan not socialist?


            The collectors of the facts noted that definition problem baiter, not me. Why are you citing such religious jibberish if you don’t like it?

          • Redbaiter

            “So is Japan not socialist? ”

            A lot less socialist than countries much further up the table.

            Face it Pascal. It is the institutionalised break down of morality that occurs when socialist politicians in National and Labour steal and bribe their way into power that is a major cause of crime.


          • Pascal's bookie


            face it, you’re an idiot, and your cite doesn’t show shit.

      • mickysavage 3.1.2


        It (Labour’s rhetoric on Law and Order) is a sign of what has happened with the debate. Every time a rehabilitative proposal is raised there is this crescendo of noise that drowns out the debate. A similar thing happens in the US, they do not do this in Europe, or at least not as badly.

        I am starry eyed about most of the things that the Clark Government did but penal policy is not one of them. I applauded the restorative justice initiatives and some of the sentencing changes but they did make it a virtue of not being “soft” on crime and the incarceration rate increased.


        Finland and Sweeden, in fact most of democratic Europe seem to be doing far better than NZ.


        I am glad that we agree on the US prison system. But the Crusher rhetoric matches the rhetoric of US politicians who were responsible for the development of their prison system.

  4. Pat 4

    “The current proposals are inhumane…”

    Please explain why you think they are inhumane.

  5. r0b 5

    The only thing that will result in fewer prisoners is less crime. That will come when economic conditions for the poor improve.

    But improving economic conditions for the poor is so hard! Better leave that to Labour governments. If you’re a Nat, it’s much easier to pump up the rhetoric, build more prisons, and lock people up for longer. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • gingercrush 5.1

      Oh yes. The great economic conditions of 1999-2008 did so much to decrease prison numbers. Of course the last budget National gave in 1999 pointed to very good years of economic growth. They also paid back debt and produced a surplus. But nevermind, its only Labour that pays back debt and its only Labour that is capable of producing surpluses. The left is very good at denial.

      • r0b 5.1.1

        It’s pretty simple GC.

        The poor do much better under Labour than they do under National.

        Crime was lower under the last 9 year Labour government than under the last 9 year National.

        You do the math.

        • gingercrush

          You show a graph that sees Labour in 1999 inheriting crime rates that are falling and the poor would always do better in economic conditions that see the economy rise for nearly nine years. Yet I don’t see you supplying any information that Labour’s nine years of good economic conditions led to a decrease in prison numbers.

          • r0b

            You show a graph that sees Labour in 1999 inheriting crime rates that are falling

            That is just over-reading meaningless noise GC. You need the long term trends for this sort of thing.

            and the poor would always do better in economic conditions that see the economy rise for nearly nine years.

            Ahhh – no. The economy has grown for the last 18 years. But for the 9 National years the rich got richer, the poor poorer. For the 9 Labour years the income of the poor grew quicker (rises in minimum wage, working for families etc) – see my link above.

            Yet I don’t see you supplying any information that Labour’s nine years of good economic conditions led to a decrease in prison numbers.

            As far as I know they didn’t. It’s a failing of the last Labour government I think, that we kept locking too many people up. I think that Labour, in an attempt to appease the right wing vote, bought in to the “tough on crime” rhetoric far too much. So prison populations (as far as I know) did not fall, but they should have, because crime was falling.

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    I’m not an expert on prison construction, Zetitic, but I suspect you aren’t either. How do you know that the container structure will only last a couple of years? How do you know what the costs of a container are? How do you know that a prefabricated structure will be of significantly lower quality than the current build-on-site structure? How do you know if Corrections has investigated all the options for prison construction, and that the most cost-optimal design is currently being used?

    I personally think it’s excellent that the Government is looking at ways to reduce the costs of prison construction.

    • jcuknz 6.1

      Loosely speaking a container constructed by prison labour on an existing prison site would cost around $36,000 per occupant as against was it $360,000 for a occupant in a regular prison on a new site.

      This suggests to me that assuming we are compassionate people and don’t want to house crims in places like Mt Eden and Mt Crawford we want to build for the short term … say fifty years maximum to take into account developments in the future … so an easilly changed removed building has an advanatge and certainly the conditions in a properly designed ‘ so-called container’ could be superior to existing conditions.

      Since there are people turning them into regular and holiday homes around the country perhaps they are too good a solution for crims

      • Anita 6.1.1

        If we were a compassionate people and didn’t want to house crims in places like Mt Eden and Mt Crawford we would be moving toward replacing them.

        The container option makes no progress toward that.

      • don't want to out me 6.1.2

        Since there are people turning them into regular and holiday homes around the country perhaps they are too good a solution for crims

        Having done a ‘lag’, I’ve got green fingers, in the eighties I can assure you that these ‘holiday homes’ only exist in the minds of people like you jcuknz.

        The reality, prison is loneliness, boredom, absolutely no privacy, try taking a dump in public, shitty food, shitty clothing and never ending noise where the days highlight is going to work, if you’re lucky enough to have a job, and mail, if you’re one of the fortunate ones, from your loved ones
        The nights are long, cold and uncomfortable with the wailing and crying of disturbed men keeping you awake.

        Prison rape is the homo-erotic fantasy of people like yourself, the reality is stick books, masturbation and the occasional drag queen.

        The other reality is illiteracy, innumeracy and a general inability to cope with everyday life on the ‘outside’ with nothing being done to address the problems.

        I could go on but it’s late and I’ve work tomorrow at, believe it or not, the local prison.

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    Would it be better to look at ways to reduce crime and offending? I would have thought more creative solutions than this were available.

  8. craig 8

    “The only thing that will result in fewer prisoners is less crime. That will come when economic conditions for the poor improve.”

    So you’re blaming crime on the poor??

    • gingercrush 8.1

      Its ok if the left do it.

    • Craig

      The link between poverty and crime has been proven about as strongly as the link between not eating and starvation.

      It is not a case of beating up on the poor. It is a case of dealing with the causes of poverty to improve the lives of ordinary kiwis. And you wingnuts ought to be supportive of this because there is a very selfish benefit for you. Crime goes down. The chances of you being a victim of crime lessens.

      I will now don my armour and gird my loins in preparation of the shouting and gnashing of teeth and say that the crime rate per head of population decreased during the time of the Clark government. Clearly making sure that ordinary kiwis had jobs reduced the possibility that they would commit crime.

      • Anita 8.2.1

        I’ll do different shouting and gnashing of teeth 🙂

        1) I’m pretty sure not all crime is driven by poverty, the obvious example is that rich men beat their wives, commit rape and child abuse (not to mention running dodgy finance companies if you want a property crime example).

        2) I think (but don’t have any evidence to hand) that crime is more closely linked with relative poverty than absolute poverty. That is, trigger is more about the width of the gap between have and have not, than the actual amount of food/stuff in the houses. From memory the Great Depression provides handy evidence of this.

        • Merlin

          “I’m pretty sure not all crime is driven by poverty” strawman

          Yeah, it might be more accurate to talk about the gap between wealthy and poor but a bit hair-splitting.

          • Anita

            Yeah, it might be more accurate to talk about the gap between wealthy and poor but a bit hair-splitting.

            It matters in the discussion of the recession. If crime is increased by increases in relative poverty but not absolute poverty then if crime goes up because of the recession then it’ll be evidence that the recession is widening the gap between rich and poor by doing the most damage the poorest and leaving the wealthy relatively unscathed.

          • Merlin

            “the recession is widening the gap between rich and poor by doing the most damage the poorest and leaving the wealthy relatively unscathed.”

            of course that’s what happens in a recession, no great insight.

          • Redbaiter

            Yeah, NZ has one of the highest rates of rape because of poverty.


        • mickysavage

          Hi Anita

          I expected my comment about how crime rates reduced under Helen to cause the gnashing of teeth!

          Overall reduced unemployment appears to have a beneficial effect on crime rates and increased unemployment appears to adversely affect it. Your comment is more sophisticated than this but I think changes in both both relative and absolute poverty will have an effect. Jealousy of increasing wealth or inability to feed one’s family can both persuade people to commit crime.

          The experience under Helen was unusual. Labour increased the number of police officers significantly. There is very strong evidence that this increases reporting of crime. More cops on the beat means more will get reported. And Labour’s “it is not ok” about domestic violence appears to have had a significant effect on reporting rates (as opposed to incident rates) of domestic violence. Despite this the overall crime rate decreased. It cannot be a coincidence that this was during a time of significant employment growth.

          To redbaiter above, relative imprisonment rates are at http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/nz-in-the-oecd/justice.htm. The New Zealand figures appear to be old.

          The best performing countries are Iceland, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland and Sweeden. Six of those countries are gold social democratic strongholds, the sort of countries Helen wanted to convert us into.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          This graph shows prison population per 100,000 from 1875 to 2001. If I knew how to use the site properly I might be able to overlay per capita income data but when I tried I only got 1980 onwards, which wasn’t all that helpful.

          However even a cursory glance suggests there’s some correlation (rises in the 1920s and early 30s, for instance) between poverty and crime.

          However in 1985 the graphs starts rocketing upwards and pretty much continues on that trajectory no matter who was in power (it actually stabilises a little from 91 – 95, then starts heading up again).

          I’d suggest, therefore, that the drivers are by no means purely economic. If only there was a scale to measure, say, the tabloidisation of our media, especially TV. Or one that showed the number of times our politicians fell back on “the streets are crawling with crims and only we can save you” rhetoric.

          Which then feeds the public’s cries to “do something!”… the “something” in this case being the arrest and incarceration of people for crimes that previously would have seen them given a warning, or the police sorting it out informally at a community level; jailing people for longer, with less rehabilitation; a rise in the number of unsafe prosecutions… and any number of similar factors, many of which statisticians would have difficulty measuring.

    • So Bored 8.3

      You are onto something there….now lets see if we were to lock up the rich, the poor would might not be tempted to rob them. And the poor might not be so poor having avoided being robbed by the rich rentiers and shareholders etc….a positive feedback loop, protecting the poor from themselves and the ravages of social inequity.

      Might not work or even be a good analysis, BUT I am sure the usual tory hacks would object.

  9. Rodney 9

    oh tim ellis what a jolly fun idea, such a vewwy excellent idea to shut pwisoners away in shipping containers because they cant be seen anymore thus reducing the visible numbers haw haw, and if they are kept inside them long enough they will stop bweathing too.

    what a splendid idea, arent tories smart..

    gee gingercrotch and tim ellis doing a bit of team building I see

    • Tim Ellis 9.1

      Here’s a better idea. Let’s buy the stamford plaza hotel and put prisoners up in there. Cheaper and much better quality accommodation so the prisoners don’t squeal about the quality of their facilities.

      Somewhere between the two extremities of hyperbole and hysteria, there might be a solution to housing prisoners at reasonable cost.

      • felix 9.1.1

        “Somewhere between the two” we would probably find, um, a prison.

        Good idea. Let’s do that.

        • Tim Ellis

          Felix, are you convinced that Corrections has explored all of the issues, and has all the answers on housing prisoners at reasonable cost?

          It would seem to me, given the enormous blow-outs in prison construction costs over the last decade, that Corrections might need a dose of fresh ideas. Pre-fabricated construction might be one of them.

          • felix

            Never said it wasn’t.

            Really I was agreeing with you in that the nonsense about shipping containers is as silly as the nonsense about luxury hotels.

  10. coolas 10

    Having the 2nd highest imprisonment rate in the OECD is a disgrace. Labour failed in prison reform by adopting the American model of punishment by incarceration. National are now shaping imprisonment into a business to privatise. Like any business it grows with demand so we can expect ever increasing prison populations.

    The people we imprison are our poorest and least educated, many mentally ill, and over half are Maori. So much for our caring society.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 10.1

      You’re absolutely correct, its pity the press can’t ask our corrections ministers and their shadows these basic questions (ie why is it that we are so bad at this?)

      Instead we are arguing about the construction methods of incarceration and who is going to do the plumbing.

    • craig 10.2

      OK so quickly why privitisation doesn’t have to be a bad thing…

      It’s all about how the private jails are paid. If they’re paid per head then it’s best their best interests to get as many people incarcerated as possible (and keep them there for as long as possible.)

      On the other hand, if they’re paid a set amount, it’s in their interests to have as few prisoners as possible (prisoner equals a cost eating into their bottom line).

      Likewise if you come up with a system where they’re penalised financially for every allegation of abuse against a guard, every violent incident between prisoners, and so on, it’s in their best interests to reduce these things as much as possible.

      And if you come up with a system where they’re paid by the number of NZQA credits prisoners earn then they’d focus on that.

      I’d imagine if you came up with a formula that saw private prisons paid according to re-offending rates then they’d make a far better effort to rehabilitate prisoners than is currently the case – after all, it would be making them money.

      It’s the compensation formula that is the problem, not private jails themselves.

      • Chris G 10.2.1

        “penalised financially for every allegation of abuse against a guard, every violent incident between prisoners, and so on, it’s in their best interests to not report these things as much as possible.”

        I agree with your last statement however do you really think the Nats would fund a private jail by the amount of NZQA credits the prisoners get?

        • craig

          Haha I can’t imagine them doing it in a million years. But that’s the problem – not the privitisation itself.

      • Rex Widerstrom 10.2.2

        …penalised financially for every allegation of abuse against a guard, every violent incident between prisoners … paid by the number of NZQA credits prisoners earn … paid according to re-offending rates

        Well said. Which is precisely some of the performance indicators on which at least one forward-thinking prison operator in Australia insists on being paid, because they’ve figured out it’s actually makes good business sense. It’s actually less expensive to effectively rehabilitate a prisoner and then get paid a trailing commission for each year they don’t reoffend than it is to treat them like an animal and then try and profit from locking them up again when they commit another crime.

        Which is why I vocally support private prisons, if they’re run by the right people (hint: not G4S).

  11. Helen 11

    The prison muster is up 700 this year thanks to the recession.

    Actually, it’s thanks to the expectation of entitlement attitude that the Labour voters have towards other people’s property.

    • Maynard J 11.1

      “People” as both a plural and singular, at the same time.

      Did you just Schrodinger’s a collective noun?

  12. craig 12

    “Oh and don’t think locking more dudes up will do anything to control crime. Never has.”

    Wanted to argue with this too…. If locking up people has never had any affect on crime, why do we lock anybody up???

    • Helen 12.1

      If locking up people has never had any affect on crime, why do we lock anybody up???

      That was Labour’s policy under Pol Clark.

      “My God, some beneficiaries in Rotorua have beaten a 3 year old girl to death!”

      Quick! Issue some more speeding tickets!”

    • Cause its good for keeping the poor people down, thus the rich and powerful have no reason to change anything.

  13. Ianmac 13

    It will be interesting to see the 100’s of containers all in neat lines and placed umm…where. Helensville empty sections? Yes?

  14. schrodigerscat 14

    Looking at the site Ratbiter provided we should all move to the crime free paradise of PNG, or maybe Georgia or Columbia.

    These must be the most respectable and reliable stats ever presented.

  15. Blackeyebart 15

    Prisons don’t work. Well at least they don’t reform, they don’t reduce crime in total, they dont make society safer, and and they waste a lot of money.

    But they do do one thing very well: they act as a point of common agreement, between those that are pissed off by the idea of crime, the victims, the politicians and those that are looking for an easy answer. That’s most people.

    The easy answer is the idea that people will be x% less likely to commit a crime if the punishment is increased by 20%. No-body knows what x% is, because that would take work, and no-one likes that.

    It is logical to think that professional criminals would bone up on the punishment and chose their crimes on a risk/reward basis, but not too many criminals have good statistical skills. Most of them have no idea what the punishment for their crime actually is. Ask a lawyer.

    Prisons don’t work. One day we will close them and then we will have to use our brains to reduce crime. Can’t come quick enough for me.

    • “Prisons don’t work. One day we will close them and then we will have to use our brains to reduce crime. Can’t come quick enough for me.”

      Hear hear

      If Treasury ran the prison system and did not have to deal with the law and order brigade it would throw out all current models and start again. In financial terms prisons do not work.

      • Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 15.1.1

        shoot the bastards instead, a well proven prison number reducing scheme. The population of South Auckland will halve in no time as the crimnal breeding element will be exterminated. Start with that Chonk who was convicted last week, give him Chinese justice, bullet to the back of the head.

        • felix

          The true face of the National Party shows itself again.

          • Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode

            Felix – the true face of ordinary NZers. I say what a lot of people will not say. Pricsons should be efficient, not luxury hloiday camps we currently have. The most luxurios prison we should have as a yardstick is Mt. Eden. Anything more is a waste of taxpayer money. If you want better prisons start up a raffle and raise the money yourselves.

          • felix

            No Peter, that’s what retards say.

            You’re not an ordinary New Zealander Peter – you’re a fucked-up, bigoted, thick-as-pigshit neanderthal knuckle-dragging moron of a man.

            Now fuck off back to your cave and beat your kids before they grow up to be communizts and queers.

        • Chris G

          Would they shoot Graham Capill aswell? or just crims you dont like.

          • Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode

            If the shoe fits baby. Capill is utter scum, kiddie fiddling is worse than some murders. At least he will be with his maker, so he should line up for the bullet. That make you feel better Chris, no bias:)?

      • craig 15.1.2

        So in your dream world a child rapist wouldn’t go to jail, because we wouldn’t have jails?

        • Helen

          So in your dream world a child rapist wouldn’t go to jail, because we wouldn’t have jails?

          According to the Labour worldview, there’s no such thing as “violent crime.”

          There’s only “legitimate acts of resistance against the colonial oppressors and bourgeois class-enemies by the heroes of the oppressed proletariat, yearning to break free.”

    • Chris G 15.2

      “chose their crimes on a risk/reward basis” Sadly this seems to be the common attitude towards criminals by the NACT parties and supporters.

  16. So Bored 16

    Well said Blackeyebart, some common sense at last. It seems to me that sinning against your fellow human is in the nature of the species, good old “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” territory. Its just a matter of the extent of the sin.

    What never ceases to amaze me is people wanting to “punish”, whip, lash shoot etc when any serious evaluatioon tells you punative measures merely cause resentment and a desire for counter retribution. Prisons dont reform, they are only useful for keeping genuinely dangerous people from harming you and me. And those people probably deserve to be in the now defunct psychiatric hospitals.

    I would happily lock up anybody who advocates prisons for a few days just to let them see what a waste of time they are.

  17. craig 17

    “Prisons dont reform, they are only useful for keeping genuinely dangerous people from harming you and me. And those people probably deserve to be in the now defunct psychiatric hospitals.”

    If someone is locked somewhere where they’re not allowed out, it’s a prison. You’re basically using Bushisms. Bush – they’re not POWs, they’re non-enemy combatants. You – they’re not prisons, they’re hospitals. Like what’s changing?

    I think prisons should concentrate more on rehabilitation, and I think people who commit crimes are often mentally ill and need doctors, not to be locked up in little cells. But saying we don’t need prisons at all is a joke. I mean ask someone who spent time involuntarily in a psychiatric hospital if they thought it was a prison or not…

    • So Bored 17.1

      Craig, no joke. My point is entirely that punishment in the form of prison is a proven failure. I too dont believe we can get rid of prisons altogether, just keep them for the seriously dangerous or recidevists. And you are right about psych wards, nobody sane would want to be there, which is entirely the point, lets stop dumping the insane into prisons and look after them where they belong in humane conditions.

  18. mike 18

    Yet another mess labours 9 year social experiment have left us. There is no public sympathy for crims after the soft approach from the left failed so badly.

    Peter Williams pitiful mumblings on Close up tonight had Coliins and Henry fighting back the laughter.

  19. Mike

    Some analysis please, please, please

  20. The prison system is really one monumentally huge waste of money. It’s really strange, the right and their love affair with fiscal responsibility, but as soon as the chance to beat up on some poor dumb people comes along, all that goes out the window.

    I guess part of it stems from the fact that A, even with our crime rates the way they are, they know that chances are higher crime wont effect them, and B, they know for sure its no them the system is going to beat up on.

    I also wonder, about Maori crime statistics, who decides a person who’s committed a crime is Maori, and how? As far as I’m concerned the only legitimate way is asking what they wrote on the last census. I suspect though that the fact that they have just been charged with something, makes the person ticking the boxes, far more likely to decide that someone is Maori, regardless of how they see themselves.

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