ACT comes out with a half-baked justice policy

Victims of crime will receive their owed reparation payments immediately and in full under ACT’s new justice policy, Party Leader David Seymour announced today.

“Ministry of Justice figures show that criminals who owe millions of dollars in reparations routinely ignore court orders to make even the smallest payments to their victims. In February 2017 accumulated reparation debts equalled $122 million. In 2016 courts ordered $30.4 million dollars of reparations, with only $23.3 million being paid.

“The court can only pay victims after getting the payment from the offender. This is unfair on the victim. It wastes their time with bureaucracy and traps them in a continuous cycle of dealing with the crime. When expected payments stop, it’s a form of re-victimisation.

“ACT would create a reparation fund so that victims get immediate payment at sentencing. This fund would be revenue neutral as it will be repaid by the offenders. The Ministry of Justice will then be responsible for chasing offenders for repayment to the fund, by docking their wages or benefit, or taking their property and selling it.”

This policy joins announcements on youth crime made earlier this week. On Tuesday ACT proposed making parents responsible for youth offending and truancy, and on Wednesday we proposed boosting penalties, facilities, and education for youth offenders.

It’s a nice step forward.  But without serious consequences for the criminals that aren’t actually paying, what it really means is that taxpayers are going to have to be responsible for the good feelings that come from giving victims money.

Not really core ACT policy if it’s just giving money away.

It also needs to make sure it gets the money back in.  In kind, or through an appropriate amount of suffering.




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