Reform incentives: New Conservative understands that part of sentencing is punishment. But we believe a major focus should include the opportunity, and incentives, for an inmate to reform their life and be empowered to successfully return to the community. Our 3-stage sentencing plan will greatly increase successful reform.
Increased sentences with good behaviour incentives: We will increase the maximum sentences outlined in legislation for all violent, gun-related, and sexual crimes and ensure that offenders actively involve themselves in work and education. Parole would be from stage to stage, and inmates would have incentives to move through stages faster via good behaviour. For example, if they complete their education they are rewarded by being moved to the “Open Prison” stage earlier.
Sentencing structure: We believe that if someone is convicted of multiple crimes they should serve each sentence sequentially (ie one after the other) and not concurrently (ie all at the same time) as they do now.
White collar crime targeted: We will also increase sentences for ‘white collar’ crime. Our current legal system does not adequately address the destruction caused by those who commit fraud, and many of their victims lose everything they have. Perpetrators will be significantly penalised for these crimes, and we will investigate all possible ways to ensure they recompense their victims, including a retrospective audit into their accounts to recover lost funds. A cross-party consensus is needed to bring greater protection for the victims of ‘white collar’ crime.
Bail: The amount of crime which occurs while people are out on bail is unacceptable. We believe that those charged with a crime serious enough to attract a mandatory prison sentence should be refused bail. Those who commit crimes while on bail should receive severe consequences, as this is a further breach of trust, and shows lack of reform.
Fines and compensation: We will set fines at a minimum of twice the estimated costs of damages or thefts. These will be used to compensate the victim. Court costs will also be set at actual costs. For example, a shoplifter will pay the shop owner twice what the stolen items cost, plus pay any court-related costs.
Acceptable justice: We will investigate the impact of plea-bargaining on justice in New Zealand. While we acknowledge the need to keep the justice system running efficiently, its primary function is to provide justice acceptable to society and the victim of the crime. A thorough investigation is needed into the adequacy of the current system to see whether justice is actually being served, or whether justice is passed over in the name of expediency.