The left vowing to repeal three strikes

May 1st, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party all say they would repeal or alter the three-strikes legislation after the issuing of a second strike to Hastings man Elijah Whaanga.

Whaanga, 21, was sentenced to two years’ jail and issued with his second strike by Judge Tony Adeane in the Napier District Court on April 18 after pleading guilty to two charges of aggravated robbery.

I understand he has a total of 72 convictions. I look forward to Labour and Greens campaigning up and down New Zealand that he should be given not 3 strikes, but 73.

Whaanga, who now has 20 convictions as an adult, was given his first strike in 2010 for a violent aggravated robbery for which he was jointly charged.

Presumably 52 of his convictions were as a youth. He has raked up a huge number of criminal convictions in a very short time. Hopefully the thought of 14 years prison for another aggravated robbery will mean he stops offending, and he creates no more victims.

But’s let’s say he does continue upon his ways. Well then for the next 14 years there will be no more victims. While prior to , he’d probably chalk up another 50 or so convictions over the next 14 years.

The Greens would “definitely” seek to repeal the law if they came to power, Mr Clendon said.

No surprise there.

Labour justice spokesman Andrew Little said the party had not committed to repeal the law but believed there were parts that might need to be altered.

Labour’s policy in 2011 was to repeal it, off memory. They voted against it, and I have no doubt they will repeal it unless they give a cast iron assurance not to before the election. However, even if they claim they will just amend it, the nature of MMP means that they may agree to its repeal as part of a coalition agreement with the Greens. Under MMP, you can’t hold parties to their manifestos unless they get a majority in their own right.

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53 Responses to “The left vowing to repeal three strikes”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    Under MMP, you can’t hold parties to their manifestos unless they get a majority in their own right.

    Yes I can.

    Parties should be honest about what they consider they can achieve and what they are willing to do if asked. If they’re not, we can definitely hold them to account.

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  2. Ed Snack (1,540 comments) says:

    Graeme, I don’t think that’s entirely practical, but they would, for my part, have to explain both before and after what there position might be should they need to compromise.

    And basically we know that that politicians would typically compromise everything and anything for a chance to grab power. As such, manifestos are more or less statements of intent to deceive.

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  3. Prince (82 comments) says:

    72 convictions…astonishing !

    Greens have said they will repeal it, Labour says, umm, well, sort of, maybe, umm, we’ll look at it, umm….
    Who do you think will win the argument, if there is one ?
    I just wish the ensuing victims of this clown were Green or Labour MP’s.

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  4. Dave Stringer (182 comments) says:

    Under MMP, you can’t hold parties to their manifestos unless they get a majority in their own right.

    And therein lies the entire challenge of MMP. You can’t vote for a policy platform you agree with, because the chances of it being acted on are so slim as to be zero.

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  5. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    One strike should be enough for most of these dirt bags.Life should have always meant life.

    How many lives have to be ruined just to prove how nice we are to dangerous criminals?

    But once again the new left are at pains to show how out of touch they are with their base and how in touch they are with the middle class intelligensia chardonnay sipping wankers that are their new base.

    Labour abandoned the working classes years ago.It is now composed of middle class teachers,union organisers,uni lecturers,feminists and the radicalists of the sexual identity brigade. Not a cloth cap in sight.

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  6. OTGO (457 comments) says:

    So Elijah Whaanga would effectively be the lefts poster boy for repealing 3 strikes. Nice one selling that to the public. Both the left and Whaanga seem to be on the path to destruction.

    He has a total of 72 convictions. Let me correct that. He has a total of 72 convictions that he was caught for. Typically there will be many more that he got away with.

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  7. rangitoto (145 comments) says:

    Election promise: Labour-Green coalition will support violent criminals in your neighbourhood.

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  8. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Both the left and Whaanga seem to be on the path to destruction.

    That would be fine, if it weren’t for the fact that the old red left is being replaced with the new blue left, and Whaanga is the probbaly the result of the left’s love affair with statism.

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  9. brad123 (15 comments) says:

    I doubt if Labour will repeal it no matter what they say, I imagine if asked the majority of the public would support three strikes, and this guy is not likely to gain any sympathy from the majority of the public also. I think this legislation has come about in part due to many believing that the judiciary is too lenient on many criminals, in particular with the law regarding parole eligibility at 1/3 of sentence. From what I have read, the average time spent in prison before someone actually is granted parole is slighter over 2/3′s really, but of course the fact that some are even allowed to apply for parole at 1/3 angers many I imagine.

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  10. Bob R (1,254 comments) says:

    The working classes and poor are the ones most likely to be exposed to this kind of violence. Labour & the Greens should be ashamed of themselves and need to re-think this.

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  11. peterwn (2,941 comments) says:

    See my comment on ‘general debate’. While Elijah may be ‘worthy’ of facing a third strike because of his 72 convictions, that is not part of the ‘three strikes’ law. I do not know how serioius the first mugging was, but I do not consider that the the second mugging (with no more than a ‘common’ assault) justified a strike or that a similar third mugging should attract 14 years ‘no argument’ jail.

    This case is just what the opponents of ‘three strikes’ have been looking for, and it was not helped IMO by the way Judge Adeane worded his warning – implying that he would go to jail for 14 years next time for merely ‘steal[ing] a hat or a cellphone or a jacket or a skateboard’. If I was in Judith Collins’ shoes I would therefore ‘head them off at the pass’ by lifting the boom slightly (and requiring a Labour expression of support before introducing a bill on this). This would also demonstrate that the Government is quite prepared to listen to any genuine concerns at the practical effect of the ‘three strikes’ legislation and also force Labour to put its money where its mouth is.

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  12. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    And should he commit an offence against a loved one of any of these moron politicans will they still seek to repeal the Act. Like hell they will.

    They have no concept of morality or ethics . I repeat no concept.

    In my opinion ALL Labour Green and Maori Party politicans have the morals and ethics of a criminal because its a criminal they are supporting.

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  13. s.russell (1,486 comments) says:

    ” You can’t vote for a policy platform you agree with, because the chances of it being acted on are so slim as to be zero.”

    Whether you like them or not, National has actually delivered nearly everything they promised, and pretty much exactly what people expected of them. And – to be fair – Helen Clark did the same.

    The choice is still real, and it matters. Your cynicism is misplaced.

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  14. Cunningham (746 comments) says:

    Why, why, why would you even consider repealing it? Do they not care about the potential victims? Everyone has 3 chances. Why would you want to give them more? I just shake my head at how stupid the opposition are. NZ deserves better then this.

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  15. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    So let’s see who Labour & the Greens want to go soft on:

    * 72 prior convictions, 20 as an adult
    * “propensity for violence”
    * “propensity for robbery”
    * “someone who takes recreation out in bullying and offending”

    Poor wee thing. Perhaps Labour should send 3 MPs to visit & cheer him up.

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  16. Linda Reid (385 comments) says:

    Actually Helen Clark delivered far more than she promised – and not in a good way. two things that come to mind immediately are that she got rid of most of the airforce and set up the supreme court removing our right to appeal to the privy council.

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  17. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Boundaries.

    The present lenient sentencing and parole does not place a line in the sand.

    Do we have a right to interminably exclude those who repeatedly show contempt towards the rights of others?

    I believe we do and three strikes is as good a mechanism as any proposed to signal this to both the judiciary and the perps.

    Personally I would prefer a bullet quicker, cheaper, much cleaner and we should not keep mad dogs in the gene pool.

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  18. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    I can’t understand how Labour think such a policy could actually help them in an election. NZ is already far too lenient on violent criminals as it is.

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  19. Jack5 (4,231 comments) says:

    Way to go, DPF. Law and order is the issue on which to take on the Greens.

    No doubt you’ll soon open a thread on the young killer (link below) who is a third-generation criminal.
    Already the MSM is putting out feelers for comments supporting the bleeding heart view that crime is all about environment with no hereditary factors. Here’s an academic quoted about this case on Stuff. He apparently thinks it’s about parents passing on attitudes, rather transmitting a brain flaw:

    Associate Professor Devon Polaschek, a forensic psychologist at Victoria University, said criminal behaviour was often passed between generations.

    “It’s very common for serious crime and violence to run in families. If people [think] that violence is OK or that violence is a way of solving problems . . . that sort of attitude or belief can be passed on.”

    Polaschek’s opinion is highly debatable. It’s more feasible that predisposition to criminal behaviour can be inherited (rather than taught), and so can predisposition to violence. Put these two genetic traits together and you’ve got trouble.

    From this, it’s easy to conclude that capital punishment is rational and in the interests of future generations’ safety.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10880849

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  20. publicwatchdog (1,840 comments) says:

    Where is the ‘three strikes’ law on ‘white collar’ crime?

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption/anti-privatisation campaigner’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

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  21. freedom101 (439 comments) says:

    Remember Willie Horton and the 1988 US Presidential election? Here’s the background:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Horton

    Here’s the Republican attack ad:

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  22. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    When I see the Gween policy on things like this, I immediately think ‘A liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet’…

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  23. Cunningham (746 comments) says:

    Linda Reid (359) Says:

    “Actually Helen Clark delivered far more than she promised – and not in a good way.”

    As much as I think the Clark government did some very damaging things in government, the current Green/Labour coalition is looking far worse in every way. Stupid policy after stupid policy.

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  24. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    The Greens would “definitely” seek to repeal the law if they came to power, Mr Clendon said

    Back in 1999 91.8% of the population voted in support of a referendum wanting (tougher) minimum sentences and hard labour for serious violent offenders. I really don’t think that 91.8% of the population have changed their mind.

    So if the Greens think that promising to repeal the 3 strikes law is going to be a vote-winner then who am I to argue …

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  25. Albert_Ross (178 comments) says:

    Have I understood correctly that the “three strikes” approach means that the outcome of his next crime – whatever he does – will be the same – a fourteen year sentence?

    Well then, he might as well make his next crime a really bad one mightn’t he?!

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  26. Viking2 (10,752 comments) says:

    I see the other day that Julie Ann Genter had her cards skimmed. I wonder if she still feels all nice nice towards these toe rags?

    Perhaps Russell hasn’t caught up with her about that yet.
    Mind You MT would stop anything anti gang.

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  27. Keeping Stock (9,791 comments) says:

    I’ve also blogged about this today. Marty Sharpe’s reporting on Stuff is once again misleading. He says that Whaanga has “20 convictions as an adult”, neglecting to mention the convictions earned before he turned 17. And there is a likely reason that he has “only” 20 adult convictions; he has been in custody or prison for much of the last three years!

    But let’s have the debate in the run-up to the 2014 General Election. Let’s see whether the electorate prefers policies which protect law-abiding citizens and the victims of crime (surely, a fundamental role of any government), or whether the electorate is more inclined to give more rights to career criminals. I don’t see this as ending well for the Left, especially now that prisoners can’t vote :D

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  28. Keeping Stock (9,791 comments) says:

    Where is the ‘three strikes’ law on ‘white collar’ crime?

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption/anti-privatisation campaigner’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    Do you mean things like encouraging the damaging water tobies, nicking electricity, vandalising electoral hoardings and refusing to pay council rates Penny?

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  29. alloytoo (338 comments) says:

    @ Penny

    The three strikes apply to ‘violent’ cases, their purpose is to protect the public from violent harm.

    Otherwise I could ask where are the three strikes on trespass vandalism and public nuisance.

    Surely you must be well them.

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  30. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    Albert_Ross is correct. There are ways the three strikes law could have been better.

    I would have preferred to just double the sentence for a second strike, triple it for a third strike and so on. So another similar conviction carrying a two year sentence would result in six years in prison because it would be the third one. This is a hefty increase while still maintaining a degree of proportionality, sometimes less than 14 years and sometimes more.

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  31. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    peterwn seems to be on an Orwellian crusade to rephrase the language of violence and crime and thereby downplay it’s significance.

    The left leaning MSM do the same thing.

    A “mugging”, as these crim huggers call it, is actually robbery. Stealing with violence.

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  32. hmmokrightitis (1,458 comments) says:

    peterwn: “I do not know how serioius the first mugging was, but I do not consider that the the second mugging (with no more than a ‘common’ assault) justified a strike or that a similar third mugging should attract 14 years ‘no argument’ jail.”

    Oh well, if it was only a ‘common’ assault! Im sorry, but WTF? How is common assault something we can feel free to downplay? Ever?

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  33. Harriet (4,013 comments) says:

    The fundamental principle of all human justice is to give to each person his or her due.

    Such conceptions of justice go back as far as Aristotle, and further. Retributive justice means rendering to each person what they deserve. This is a basic principle of social life, and without it we would descend into anarchy.

    In a fallen world where crime and evil exists, all societies have rules, laws, courts, and police to enforce justice and to punish wrongdoers. All civilised societies expect that the wicked will be punished, and that crimes will be dealt with. This is simply justice, and to allow crime to go unpunished is to allow justice to be denied.

    Not all killing is murder, and some killing is justified. The state is justified in killing murderers. :cool:

    Or as John Feinberg and Paul Feinberg put it:

    “Requiring the death penalty for murder upholds rather than denigrates the importance of life. If life is so unimportant that one can snuff it out with only minimal punishment, life is trivialized. However, if the criminal’s life is taken when he kills someone, the seriousness of the crime and the importance of the life are underscored.”

    It is the dignity of man which is actually elevated with the death penalty. It takes seriously both the dignity of man and those who would seek to deprive an innocent person of his life.

    As Walter Berns put it:

    Capital punishment “serves to remind us of the majesty of the moral order that is embodied in our law and of the terrible consequences of its breach.”

    When you are in the polling booth, it is wise to remember, that to give a vote to Labour and the Greens, your life, and your loved ones’ lives, is to be trivialized ! :cool:

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  34. Nostalgia-NZ (4,699 comments) says:

    For all intents and purposes it didn’t matter if Whaanga had 1 or 70 previous convictions when he received his second conviction that resulted in the strike warning. The Judge had some discretion on the length of sentence but not on the denial of parole. It may be that Judges are inclined to pass lesser sentences if they are also a 2nd strike conviction not high on the scale of severity. Whaanga’s is an extreme case in at least 2 respects, the amount of convictions he has as 22 year old, the relative pettiness of his recent robbery conviction compared to a gainfully employed, artful and accomplished armed bank robber aged 40 who would have drawn somewhere between 7 to 10 years for a robbery even it it was his first robbery conviction, although having been acquitted of other robberies or been suspected of being involved in other robberies and offending for many years. Whatever the case, Whaanga by the age of 24 could be serving 14 years without parole for any crime of the type described by the Judge in his sentencing. One of his 3 strike convictions might have been ‘marginal’ in that in a street fight he stole the shoes of his victim who might to have been a street mugger or in that scene – I think there was evidence of this in a 2nd strike case entered last year. The variables appear endless but the criticism that the ‘baddest of the bad’ who whatever terms have been used, and Whaanga don’t equate to this point, but may after some future offending by him. I’ve read both of peterwn comment’s on this today, and those of others who’ve commented on some apparent ‘grey areas’ one way around those might be the tried and tested ‘Judicial discretion’ in determining when a warning may not be issued on a ‘strike offence’ of a lesser magnitude to what the legislation intended in its overall thrust.

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  35. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    The left’s strategy in my view is unlikely to be to campaign on repealing 3S in 2014…Unless they are asked yes or no cross examination type questions, they (other than the Greens and Mana, who will at least be open about their intentions) will simply dissemble on what they will do about it ; change the subject at every opportunity…and then once they have their feet under the government benches, quickly bring in a bill to repeal it – not hard to draft, you could do it in half an hour.

    They will rely on the sheeple having short memories, and simply ride out the immediate hue and cry safe in the knowledge that by the time of the 2017 election, most voters will have forgotten about it. They will also be smugly sure that it will never be reinstated by a Nat led government…everyone in the know knows what a helluva job it was to get them to the party in 2010.

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  36. Judith (5,660 comments) says:

    It’s quite a giggle to see so many people advocating that L/G are going to repeal the 3 strikes law and take a soft approach – when there has been no decision from either party on what approach they will take.

    Crystal gazing is such a sad habit. Don’t you think you should aim for just a wee bit of reality? At least until they say what their alternative plan is?

    The current legislation is fraught with problems and needs either amending or abolishing and something far more effective to replace it. It does not address some important issues that it should do. Just like most other pieces of legislation, it was emotionally driven, needs a tidy up. There needs to be effective legislation that prevents offenders getting to a third strike, and as yet we don’t have that. When someone commits their first strike (serious crime) – we have enough indication they are not ideal citizens.

    Another point that annoys me with this legislation is the non-parole. Someone serves their 14 years and is released into the community – no parole supervision, nobody to report to – in prison one day, out the next. No means of checking they are integrating back into the community etc. AND most importantly, no means of bringing them back to prison if they show they are not fitting into society and could be building up to committing more violence. Surely prevention is better than waiting for the harm to occur?

    No long term prisoner should ever just be put back on the streets without some form of supervision and if their entire sentence is served in prison, you have no legal means of doing that.

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  37. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    I like it when violent criminals are locked up. The longer the better.

    Violent criminals are just shit, rubbish, God’s mistakes, an inferior breed of orc, and they actually don’t deserve freedom and endless chances.

    That is all.

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  38. Bob R (1,254 comments) says:

    @ RRM,

    Given that behavioural traits are partly heritable the worst offenders should be offered a vasectomy in exchange for time shaved off the sentence.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18434037

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  39. dishy (199 comments) says:

    Perhaps Labour wouldn’t mind the 3 strikes bizzo so much if their beloved criminals could smoke ciggies while in the big house.

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  40. laworder (265 comments) says:

    hmmokrightitis wrote

    peterwn: “I do not know how serioius the first mugging was, but I do not consider that the the second mugging (with no more than a ‘common’ assault) justified a strike or that a similar third mugging should attract 14 years ‘no argument’ jail.”

    Oh well, if it was only a ‘common’ assault! Im sorry, but WTF? How is common assault something we can feel free to downplay? Ever?

    Well said, very true. Evan if it was just a “kick in the shins” it was not the only offence he committed that resulted in the second strike according to the news report http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8605255/Anger-at-14-year-strike-2-warning

    ” Four months later he committed two aggravated robberies with two separate accomplices.

    The first involved taking a skateboard, hat and cigarette lighter from the victim after trying unsuccessfully to remove the victim’s jacket. The second involved Whaanga kicking the victim in the back of his leg and taking his hat and cellphone. ”

    I am happy with the way three strikes has worked in this instance. This is exactly the sort of offender we want out of circulation, and if he does get a third strike for more violence, then 14 years is the least he should be serving

    That said, Judith is correct in saying that more early intervention is also in order. Bob R’s suggestion has a lot of merit

    I do hope Labour/Greens campaign on repealing three strikes, it is a surefire means for them to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

    Regards
    Peter J
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  41. hj (5,720 comments) says:

    The Greens have tidied their act but they still have a base that supports Delahunty, Clendon, Turie, and assorted Locke and Bradford entrails….. But they are all lovely leafy and green.

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  42. Paulus (2,304 comments) says:

    AS usual “Soft on Crime” – good socialism.

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  43. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    Three strikes disproportionately affects Maori. Therefore the legislation must be racist….
    (Am I right “Dr” Sharples??)

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  44. laworder (265 comments) says:

    Bob R wrote


    Given that behavioural traits are partly heritable the worst offenders should be offered a vasectomy in exchange for time shaved off the sentence.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18434037

    Excellent article. Bob did you see this today, found it on Arts and Letters Daily
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323335404578444682892520530.html

    Demonstrates the neurobiological origins of offending of this type, something I have thought the case for some time

    Regards
    Peter J
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  45. hj (5,720 comments) says:

    The political system needs reform so people get a say on issues rather than parties which become corrupted by groups such as the red greens (a bit like the black- whites).

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  46. Bob R (1,254 comments) says:

    @ laworder,

    Thanks, yes I did see that WSJ article. Certainly some people appear to be more vulnerable to aggressive or impulsive behaviour and twin/adoption studies suggest that is inherited to some extent. That is also mediated by the type of environment they’re raised in and their peer groups. The guy on the front page of the DomPost today, whose father and grandfather both were involved in violent crimes seems a case in point.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8618158/Young-killer-follows-in-fathers-footsteps

    An anthropologist Peter Frost writes about how the prevalence of this behaviour may have been reduced once societies came under state control which monopolised violence and reduced its selective value.

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.ca/2012/12/genetic-pacification-in-medieval-europe.html

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  47. David Garrett (5,159 comments) says:

    Do you actually try to be obtuse Judith, or does it just come naturally?

    There is no supposition about it: Labour AND the Greens AND Mana AND the Maori Party have all said – in response to Whaanga’s jailing on a second strike, they will repeal 3S if they get the chance…is that clear enough for you?

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  48. Positan (378 comments) says:

    One can only conclude that Labour and the Greens are determined to underline that they have absolutely no capability whatsoever to take on anything like the role of government.

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  49. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (531 comments) says:

    Why is John Key keeping quiet instead of ripping these guys apart? He is so timid and soft. Not going to work when the Communists and the hippies turn on their propaganda machine during 2014 campaign….

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  50. BlairM (2,266 comments) says:

    Labour and the Greens have made an epic error here. Crime stats have gone down under National. The next election campaign has practically written itself. They are going to get pwned like the little bitches they are.

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  51. kiwi in america (2,336 comments) says:

    I’m with BlairM. “Soft on crime: campaign themes, especially when National can point to a statistically significant reduction in crime AND highlight the horrendous level of offending of the person that triggered the Greens/Labour Mana announcement, are very easy to put into sound bites that middle NZ and low information voters will respond to. International political history is replete with electoral success built on painting your opponents as soft on crime. If Whaanga is L/G/M’s poster child for the repeal of 3 Strikes, they are even more removed from the thinking of average kiwi voters than I thought!

    Labour have wrapped themselves around the Greens as their best hope to win in 2014. This means that National can make them own all of the Greens more extreme policies (of which there are many). Labour’s more nuanced policies on most issues will be lost in the perception that in government they will govern with the Greens. When the Greens were merely a voice for the environmental left they occupied an ignorable niche for Labour. Clark took their votes, threw them a few bones and Labour ran the show. Anderton had more clout and got more policy runs on the board with his minute Progressives than the Greens ever did from 1999 to 2008. 10 – 12% gets Norman and co into Cabinet and a claim on some major portfolios. This is an entirely different electoral proposition than what Labour and the Greens offered voters previously.

    Shearer is trapped. He cannot go down the Clark/Cullen more moderate path because his party base is more left leaning than his caucus and the base has its preferred full throated left leader in Cunliffe waiting in the wings. Labour’s latest policy pronouncements have effectively removed them from the electorally rich centre ground of NZ politics. Its up to National and Key to continually remind NZers of that fact in simple to understand themes and messages.

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  52. laworder (265 comments) says:

    I hope BlairM and kiwi in america are right. Labour/ Greens have left themselves wide open for something along the lines of the Willie Horton campaign strategy mentioned by freedom101 above, I only hope Key’s campaign managers have the nous to pick it up and run with it

    I shudder to think of the alternative…..

    Regards
    Peter J
    see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  53. wreck1080 (3,533 comments) says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Labour are campaigning that they want recidivist violent offenders to be treated more leniently?

    I wonder how that’ll go for them.

    National should really rub this policy in — it could actually cause labour to lose.

    It makes me wonder if these violent crims are using standover tactics on labour?

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