National and Act have just announced their agreement to implement the 3 strikes law.
Agreement on the policy, which will be incorporated into the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill, was announced by the Prime Minister John Key, ACT Leader Rodney Hide and Police and Corrections Minister Judith Collins today.
The new regime will uphold the Government’s election pledge to remove eligibility for parole for the worst repeat violent offenders, and incorporate significant aspects of ACT’s three-strikes policy.
Under the regime, an offender will receive a standard sentence and warning for the first serious offence. For the second offence they will get a jail term (in most cases) with no parole and a further warning. On conviction for their third serious offence, the offender will receive the maximum penalty in prison for that offence with no parole.
Good, time for us to put some people behind bars for a very long time.
In the revised Bill each strike will be based on an offender receiving a conviction for a qualifying offence. In the Bill as introduced, the threshold was a sentence of five years or more for a qualifying offence.
On their third strike offenders will get the maximum sentence for the offence rather than a life sentence with a minimum period of imprisonment of 25 years as originally proposed.
As a general rule, the list of qualifying offences comprises all the major violence and sexual offences with a maximum penalty of seven years’ prison or more.
The really interesting thing is that it was “Crusher” Collins at the press conference announcing this law and she is going to be the Minister implementing it. Normally this is the purview of the Minister of Justice, but Simon “FIGJAM” Power must have annoyed too many people to be trusted with this key piece of legislation. At least we know that “Crusher” will deliver, everything she has promised so far has manifested itself under her guiding hand, this law will be no different.
This is also a significant policy win for ACT and Rodney Hide can justifiably be proud of the impact his party is having on the government. The response from Labour will be interesting. Phil Goff would privately support this, but could he carry his caucus to supporting it. I seriously doubt he can do that.
Batter up I say.