In his must read column today, David Fisher explores the bizarre political double standard that exists within NZ as an explanation as to why Andrew Little is losing the case for prison reform…
If, through Little’s changes, there are people in the community who would currently be in jail then eventually one of those people will reoffend in a way which will make front-page news.
At that point, National’s talking points will have real victims – and that one extra person among roughly 270,000 victims of crime annually will lead to sharp political questions.
Will Bridges say Little has blood on his hands? “It’s not about that kind of cheap shot but it is about the real consequences of his actions as minister over all.”
If that single event can be used to typify what is happening, it fits with Gluckman’s autopsy of how New Zealand wound up with such a high prison rate.
Gluckman said: “The prison population has been amplified by criminal-justice system settings … which are led by government policy, which, in turn, is often in response to political and media debate around a specific crime event.”
Translation: One single event propelled by media into the political arena leads to law change which leads to a bursting prison population.
It occurred in 2002 when parole and sentencing laws were changed, leading to increases in the prison population. And again after the murder of Christie Marceau, 18, which made bail harder to achieve.
…it’s funny isn’t it. If Labour changes the ridiculous prison system and someone ends up hurting someone because of that, National ill scream Labour ‘have blood all over their hands’, yet National renegade on the Psychoactive Substances Act and forced synthetic cannabis underground where it is killing 40-45 people a year and no on is screaming that National have blood on their hands when that decision made them elbow deep in blood.
Labour will always be crucified for policy in a way that National never does.
Perhaps muddle Nu Zilind needs to reflect upon that?