Wellington, December 2, 2017
Justice Minister Andrew Little’s statements on ‘The Nation’ this morning demonstrate that the Coalition Government will go soft on crime, expressing concern that judges are putting the safety of the public first rather than putting more offenders on bail.
When asked if he thought judges were being too conservative in putting public safety first and keeping offenders in custody, rather than releasing them on bail, he confirmed that was his view.
In what were extraordinary comments for a Justice Minister to make, Mr Little has said the bail laws are fine but it’s the way judges apply them that is the problem. Not only is it constitutionally inappropriate for a minister to criticise the judiciary, it confirms that the Coalition Government will be soft on crime.
Most New Zealanders welcome strong sentences for serious and violent criminals and caution around granting bail. But Mr Little appears to be calling for judges to stop erring on the side of caution.
National toughened up bail laws to protect public safety and judges have applied these laws fairly. Mr Little needs to let them get on with their job.
Amy Adams is elected Member of Parliament from Selwyn Constituency and National Party’s Spokesperson for Justice.