We’re breaking down different parties' policies on some of the biggest issues in Aotearoa right now. Here's crime and justice.
These are condensed summaries, to make it as easy as possible for young voters to get key, relevant information. Parties may have more policies, or there may be more information or more policy detail beyond what we have been able to fit in here.
There are links to the full set of a party’s policies at the end of each section if you want more details or to see where it sits in their policy portfolio.
Gangs: National wants to ban gang patches and insignia in public, give police the power to disperse gang members from gathering together in public, or stop them associating or communicating in private, and the ability for police to ban some gang members from owning firearms, and make gang membership an automatic aggravating factor in sentencing
Youth Crime: National will make a new category of offender called Young Serious Offender, which will apply to anyone aged 10 to 17 who has committed two serious crimes. They want to create Young Offender Military Academies, a 12-month boot camp where 15 to 17 year old Young Serious Offenders can be sent.
National wants to introduce 300 extra police officers into New Zealand’s inner cities.
Also introduce stronger sentences for repeat offenders, limit the ability for judges to reduce sentences,bring back Three Strikes, increase funding for victim support, stop taxpayer funding for cultural reports and make rehabilitation programmes available to remand prisoners.
Labour also has a focus on gangs, youth crime and supporting the police.
Police: Labour wants to introduce an extra 300 police officers, expand a programme which allows mental health workers to respond to mental health callouts rather than Police.
Gangs: They want to create new legislation which would allow police to seize vehicles of convoys of gang members travelling together on public roads. and target the leaders of organised crimes and break their international links.
Youth Crime: Pass a law to make ram-raiding a specific offence with a penalty of up to ten years in prison. Pass a law to make it an aggravating factor in sentencing for people to post their crimes online, or for an adult to use young people to commit a crime. Continue to support the circuit-breaker programme, where community organisations intervene when young people were caught offending. Build two new youth justice facilities.
Justice system: Continue a review on the victim reparations system. Modernise consent law, explore defining what consent is (current law only defines what it is not). Strengthen laws against stalking and harassment. Address name suppression settings and questioning children about consent.
Green’s crime policies focus on addressing the causes of crime, and providing rehabilitation for those in the justice system. This includes,
- funding more mental health and trauma support, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation
- resourcing more rehabilitation programmes and tikanga-based and restorative justice solutions
- rangatahi and Pasifika specialist youth courts across the country
- prioritising community-based outcomes over prison wherever possible.
They also want to reform aspects of the justice system, such as
- reducing the number of young people put in youth detention facilities
- a ban on young people being detained with adults
- increasing the support people get when leaving prison, particularly around housing
- regular de-escalation training for police
- reduce adversarial cross-examination in sexual violence court cases, prevent victims’ prior sexual history being used
- better resource legal aid, community law centres, and make applications for protection and parenting orders free.
The Green Party also wants to update the Human Rights Act to include protections against incitement of violence to include gender, disability, and rainbow communities.
ACT’s crime policies focus on increasing consequences for offenders, and providing more support to victims, such as
- clarifying that judges should place more emphasis on the impact to the community and victim when sentencing, and less on the impact to the offender
- abolish cultural consideration for offenders in sentencing
- have the impacts of a crime against a worker, like a dairy owner, be considered equally to something like a home invasion when sentencing.
- 17 year old offenders tried under the adult justice system, (currently under the youth system)
- 200 more beds in youth justice facilities
- ankle bracelets for serious young offenders
- increased powers for police to seize gang assets and restrict their movements and interactions
- reinstating the three strikes law, where repeat offenders receive harsher sentences
- IRD to investigate gang income
Prisons: introduce a minimum literacy standard, where prisoners would only be eligible for parole if they can read and write well enough to get a driver's licence. 524 new prison beds each year.
Guns: Rewrite the Arms Act after Labour’s “knee-jerk” response to March 15. Scrap the firearms registry. Disqualify gang members from having firearms licence.
New Zealand First:
New Zealand First’s crime policies focus on increasing the presence and powers of the police and courts, including
- at least 500 new frontline police officers in the first 18 months of a new government
- doubling the number of youth aid workers, and increasing resources for community policing and neighbourhood watch
- reviewing police pay and conditions
New Zealand first want to crack down on gangs by
- classing gangs as terrorist organisations
- funding the removal of gang tattoos in prison
- establishing a gang-only prison to reduce recruitment of non-gang affiliated prisoners
- gang membership an aggravating factor in sentencing
They also want to increase penalties for a range of offences including fleeing drivers, dangerous littering, texting while driving, and shoplifting. Mandatory six-month sentence for assaulting a first responder.
Te Pāti Māori:
Te Pāti Māori want to completely reform the New Zealand justice system by
- establishing a Māori Justice Authority and reallocating 50% of the police and courts budgets to it
- disestablishing Youth Justice Residences by 2030
- abolishing the type and style of our current prisons by 2040
- working with Māori organisations to shift our current justice services to a restorative justice model - where offenders are often charged with righting the wrong they have caused in their community, rather than removing them from that community
While the party has these high-level reform ambitions, they also have a range of changes they would make to the current system, such as
- expanding rehabilitation and recovery services in prisons
- increasing the payment prisoners receive on release to $1000
- reinstating the ability for prisoners to vote (currently only those with a sentence under three years can vote)
- raising the age of criminal responsibility to 16 (currently 10)
- wipe criminal convictions for drug use and possession.
They also want to invest in preventative measures like shifting mental health callouts away from police, and doubling the investment in drug and alcohol treatment and mental health services.
Notes on our methodology
How we chose the parties: We’ve included the parties who currently have MPs in Parliament, (a.k.a. Labour, National, Greens, ACT and Te Pāti Māori) or those who recent polls show are likely to win one electorate seat or meet the 5% threshold to get into Parliament (a.k.a NZ First). Political parties need to get at least 5% of the party vote, or win at least one electorate seat, to get into Parliament.
These are condensed summaries: To make it as easy as possible for young voters to get key, relevant information. Parties may have more policies, or there may be more information or more policy detail beyond what we have been able to fit in here.
These summaries were accurate as of the time of publication: but parties can release policies right up until the day before election day, so some parties may announce policies after we have published.
How will these policies be paid for? Where possible we’ve tried to include information about what the parties say these policies will cost, and how they will be paid for, but not every announcement has that information.
Difference between election promises and government policy announcements:
Some of the things Labour has announced over the last few months are government policy announcements (where work can start on them as soon as they are announced), and some are election promises (where they only happen if that party gets elected). It all gets a bit confusing because both of these things can be referred to as policies, so where possible we’ve tried to indicate which is which.
Check out our other policy breakdowns (so far) here:
And some of our other election coverage: