News release

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26 October 2011
All Blacks - Wellington Parade - Part Two - October 26, 2011

Scenes from the forecourt of Parliament before the All Blacks arrived - and several after they did - featuring PM John Key, Speaker Lockwood Smith and Hon Nathan Guy.

Speech

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26 October 2011
Speech Notes: Strengthening our bail laws

A big focus of our first term in Government has been crime.

We’ve passed 18 new laws to help make families safer in their homes and communities.

We’re clamping down on gangs and P, investing in new programmes to turn young offenders away from crime, and we’ve introduced tougher sentences for the worst repeat violent offenders.

Already, we’re starting to see the results: in the last year, crime was down in all regions – and overall by 7%.
Earlier today Minister of Justice Simon Power announced the next step in the Government’s Law and Order agenda: major changes to the bail laws. These changes came about following the review of Bail laws we promised in 2008.

New Zealanders must feel safe in their homes. While we recognise that people charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty, that right must be balanced against the principle of public safety.

The National-led Government’s changes will help to keep our communities safe. As a result of our review of bail laws, National will introduce a range of changes including the following:

  • Firstly, we’ll target those defendants with the highest risk of offending on bail, by reversing the burden of proof in bail decisions for those charged with serious class A drug offences, such as manufacturing or dealing P. Over a third of these defendants offend while on bail.

Reversing the burden of proof means that it is up to the defendant to demonstrate that they do not present a risk to the public, rather than leaving it to the police to prove that they do.

  • Secondly, we’ll introduce a reverse burden of proof in bail decisions for defendants charged with murder, to reflect the seriousness of the charge
  • We’ll expand the list of violent and sexual offences that result in a defendant being subject to a reverse burden of proof if they have a prior history of such offending.
  • Defendants aged 17-19 who have previously served a prison sentence will be subject to the standard (adult) tests for bail, rather than the strong presumption in favour of bail that currently applies
  • We’ll enable the Court to detain defendants under 17 years of age who significantly or repetitively breach bail conditions
  • Under National, it will be clear in legislation that bail will not be granted in return for information.
  • We’ll increase the penalty for failure to answer Police bail to up to three months imprisonment, from the current fine of up to $1,000.
  • And there will be a reduction in the number of situations where a defendant is “bailable as of right”.
  • And finally, we’ll put the electronic monitored bail regime into legislation to ensure that it is administered consistently.

The National Government’s focus is once again on the safety of New Zealand’s communities, as it has been throughout our first term in Government.

More details

Bail laws to be strengthened to protect public safety

News release

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26 October 2011
All Blacks Parade - Photoset, Part One of Three

Photos from the All Blacks parade in Wellington today. This set covers the parade as it moved from Civic Square to Parliament. Click the image to see the photoset on Flickr.