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“To ensure human life and property are respected our society relies heavily on the lawful authorities to do their job appropriately and responsibly. Many of the New Zealand public now believe our criminal justice system is weak. Youth justice has become a kind of "tag and release", because young offenders caught by police are being released back in to the community and allowed to continue offending. We need to do things differently and New Zealand First will.”

— Rt Hon Winston Peters

ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND MORE EFFICIENT COURTS

  • Improve Legal Aid funding and systems.
  • Explore and introduce greater use of alternative disputes resolution processes, especially mediation and arbitration as a right.
  • Provide litigants with better means of avoiding delays such as the use of default procedures.
  • Provide litigants with improved means to review the fees charged by lawyers and other providers.
  • Review the operation of the Disputes Tribunal to improve its performance.
  • Review the jurisdiction of the District Court.
  • Require greater use of technology to reduce the amount of court hearing time including e-document filing.

VICTIMS' RIGHTS

  • Better co-ordinate, and fund the delivery of state-funded and privately funded victim support services.

SENTENCING

  • Instruct the Law Commission together with the Human Rights Commission to urgently review the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act to broaden its cover.
  • Ensure an accused can be re-tried where any acquittal, or a change to a lesser offence, was as a result of intimidation, perjury, or bribery.
  • Remove concurrent sentences for those guilty of rape and for those who commit offences while on parole, on bail, or whilst in custody.
  • Strengthen monitoring requirements in relation to community-based sentences.
  • Review the adequacy of maximum sentences for serious criminal offences.
  • Investigate the implementation of degrees of murder sentencing regime.
  • Increase the use of mandatory minimum sentences for violent offenders.
  • Require that upon conviction of a serious crime, non-citizens will be deported to their country of origin.

ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING

  • Use home detention only for non-violent offenders.
  • Introduce a greater range of non-custodial sentences such as the confiscation of property, larger and long term reparation payments and fines.
  • Implement short, sharp custodial sentences, with dedicated, stipulated, supervised and monitored work.

YOUTH JUSTICE

  • Reverse National’s raising the age of criminal responsibility (supported by Labour) to 18.
  • Require greater parental responsibility for young offenders.
  • Overhaul the youth justice system and introduce Demerit Points to be scaled with the current Seriousness Scale. The more serious the crime, the more Demerit Points which will accrue (ranging from 0-100).
  • With lower level crimes for first-time offenders (offences or offenders), the focus is on assessment, support and guidance for the youth (including learning needs) as well as their parents.
  • With higher level crimes, or multiple re-offences, a higher number of Demerit Points will accrue leading to a far more serious response including Family Group Conferences, Youth Court or District Court.
  • When any youth offender has accrued 80 or more points, and/or committed a serious enough offence, they will go directly to Youth Court.  Any subsequent offending at any level will be heard in District Court.

THE ENVIRONMENT COURT

  • Permit applicants for large projects, which have regional or national significance to go directly to the Environment Court.
  • Consolidate submissions which substantially replicate each other in order to reduce time and expense.
  • Require District and Regional Councils to estimate and then maintain the costs they intend to impose on applicants at the time the application is made.
  • Require that costs that relate to public benefit issues will not be charged to applicants.

THE FAMILY COURT

  • Provide state-funded counselling so that only those cases which have clearly developed into a dispute need to go to mediation or a court.
  • Make Legal Aid available to all eligible parties.
  • Ensure the child’s interests are represented by a lawyer unless deemed unnecessary.

PROPERTY RIGHTS AND EARTHQUAKE ISSUES

  • Amend the Public Works Act on the issue of Resumption of Property to provide adequate and fair compensation.
  • Make future earthquake recovery human rights based.
  • Regulate insurers to ensure the timely repair of homes and rebuilds.
  • For bare and uninsured land provide 100% offers plus compensation and for those who have accepted 50% offers, payout the remaining 50%.