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ACT – tough on crims? Not anymore

Yesterday ACT and Mike Williams teamed up to announce it was going to cuddle crims instead.

Prisoners would have their time in jail slashed if they complete literacy, numeracy and driver licensing courses, under new Act Party policy.

Former Labour president Mike Williams, now with the Howard League for Penal Reform, strongly backs the policy – and says Corrections chief executive Ray Smith has expressed enthusiasm.

Act leader David Seymour announced the radical new policy in his keynote speech to Act’s annual conference in Orakei today.

Eligible inmates would earn up to six weeks for every year of their term, depending on the types of courses completed. For example, a person sentenced to three years in prison could get up to 18 weeks deducted from their time in jail.

Act is known for its hardline law and order policy, and was behind the introduction of the controversial three-strikes legislation.

Today’s policy is a significant departure from that approach and focuses on rehabilitation.

I have no problem with rehabilitating those who are capable and willing.  There is no point in destroying more lives for the sake of it.   But it does leave ACT’s messaging confused.

With prisons overflowing and crime up, the electorate wants to hear how more of them are going to get locked up.  And that’s traditionally the area ACT have been strong.  Three Strikes for burglary would be welcomed, if not Three Strikes for anything that has a minimum two year jail term.

Almost 65 per cent of the men and women in prison fall below NCEA level one literacy and numeracy.

A keynote speaker at the Act conference in Auckland’s Orakei is former Labour Party president Mike Williams.

Williams is now the chief executive of the New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform, which runs literacy programmes that aim to get prisoners to a competent reading level, enabling them to read books to their children, take driver tests and have a better chance of finding work when they are released.

Last year Seymour joined Williams and Bill English at a prizegiving ceremony at Rimutaka Prison, where inmates who had completed the league’s literacy programme and learnt to read spoke about what it meant to them. Tutors who volunteered in the programme also spoke.

“He came to me afterwards and said, why aren’t more prisoners doing these courses,” Williams said. “I said, well there’s just not the demand. And he said, how would you create the demand?”

Seymour then developed the policy, which Williams said the Howard League strongly supported.

Once again, no problem in principle.  But there is an opportunity cost to this.  And the price ACT is paying is that they are now no longer tough on criminals.   Fake that you’re no good at reading or maths, do some tests and presto – time off your sentence.

Williams said the policy could save the country millions of dollars, given it cost about $2000 a week to keep someone in jail. He said it could cut reoffending by as much as 50 per cent.

Those who want to and can should get the opportunity to so what it takes to stay out of jail.  And if that requires government help, I’m good with that.

Strategically, in an election year, I don’t see this as smart ACT policy.  Not when crime is up, police are straining to keep up, and the public are sick to death of pandering to criminals.

 

– Nicholas Jones, NZ Herald

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Photograph from an album of 22 official photographs (and one newspaper cutting) showing scenes from the Western Front, 1916-1918 (c). Associated with World War One, Western Front (1914-1918).

We had over one hundred Whaleoilers trapped in the no man’s land of pending subscriptions thanks to problems with Paypal and some readers’ dislike of Paypal. Since we introduced Stripe as a second payment platform that number has dropped as loyal readers complete their subscriptions.

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I can be contacted juana.atkins at gmail.com

What Mike Williams and David Seymour have in common

Mike Williams the CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform spoke at The Act Party conference yesterday. As an ex-president of the Labour party and also their past campaign manager of four elections, I didn’t expect him to share any common ground with a party like Act. After all one of Act’s flagship policies was the three strikes legislation which is all about the stick and deterrence.

Mike Williams or Fat Tony as Cam has always affectionately called him, made a strong case for the power of volunteering where the cost to the taxpayer is zero. More to the point he illustrated examples where the cost of removing barriers was insignificant compared to the savings to the taxpayer when an offender was removed from both the justice system and the benefits system.

The barriers he mentioned were:

Read more »

Basically all I’ve done is keep my promise – Trump

Basically all I’ve done is keep my promise,” President Donald Trump said to a roaring crowd on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. And that’s what’s driving so many crazy on the Left and giving so many on the Right a reason to applaud.

And I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake, phony, fake.
(APPLAUSE)

A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people.
(APPLAUSE)

Because they have no sources, they just make ’em up when there are none. I saw one story recently where they said, “Nine people have confirmed.” There’s no nine people. I don’t believe there was one or two people. Nine people.

And I said, “Give me a break.” Because I know the people, I know who they talk to. There were no nine people. Read more »

Who am I?

Guess who the mystery person is using the 3 clues. Include in your comments how the clues relate to the mystery person

who am i top banner

Read more »

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Why vote for ACT when it won’t be in government at all?

Audrey Young writes

The hybrid political animal Act has become – in government but not part of the Government – is not working for it.

Seymour’s outstanding achievement as the Act leader is that he is not reviled and he has not stuffed up but that is simply not enough.

Seymour’s decision not to take a ministerial portfolio but to remain only an under-secretary has allowed him more freedom to criticise National. But when he does so, he is only preaching to the converted.

Richard Prebble did not take Act to its peak of nine MPs by attacking National. He and his team did it by attacking orthodoxies and wasteful spending and coming up with new ideas.

Bingo.  They got there by being polarising instead of popular.

The party has made pitiful progress since the caucus of 2008 – 2011 tore itself apart and Hide was replaced with Don Brash who was replaced with John Banks who was replaced with Jamie Whyte who was replaced with David Seymour in 2014 when Whyte, sadly, never made it to Parliament.

Whyte’s habit of saying what he believes rather than what he believes people want to hear would have made him immensely controversial if not a popular sidekick to Seymour.

But he is heading back to London to be director of research at the free market think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

ACT needs to appeal to 5% of the population only.  But it needs to do so strongly.  As it is, ACT is more like the National people hope National would be.  Leaving people who need an adjustment to wards the right with no home to go to. Read more »

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Nostalgia

I was just digging through some old posts and thought these would be fun to look back on, given that we are roughly in the same stage of the election cycle three years on.

Not even $5m was enough to get people to betray their country and fellow Kiwis to help out Kim.   Read more »

Want a total backfire? Put Nick Smith on the job

Minister for Magic, Nick Smith waved his blue wand and wadeable rivers miraculously turned into ones you can swim in.

All it takes is a little fiddling with the standards.

This week Smith made a brave promise that 90 per cent of rivers would be swimmable by the year 2040. Read more »

Whaleoil General Debate

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