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The Soap Box: Labour making their mark with easily dispersed crumbs

2 November 2017 4:16 PM
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A fortnight ago much of the country was in a state of shell shock. Winston Peters had just delivered his decision to anoint Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Since then we haven't seen much of him. He's clearly decided to let the young ones get on with the job and they've been busy delivering the sort of crumbs that are relatively easy to disperse.

Banning foreign buyers from gobbling up existing homes even though no one knows just how many have been active in the market, other than the supposition from Labour in opposition that there were a lot of them considering all the Chinese names who were bidding and taking ownership. The decision to ban them using the Overseas Investment Act, making houses sensitive, still means when push came to shove they could conceivably get through the door.

Then there's Andrew Little asserting leadership as Justice Minister saying he was going to get rid of the three strikes law before we really know how effective it's been. There are eight and a half thousand crims on their first warning. A good portion of them are still likely to be in prison, meaning they haven't had the chance of getting a second warning. Just over two hundred are on their final warning; again, most of them are likely to be incarcerated and just two have gone down for a third strike and were eligible for the maximum sentence but didn't get it.

One pinched a female prison warden's bum, was sent down for seven years, but is eligible for parole after serving just over two because the Judge used his discretion. And the same happened to the other crim who pinched a cell phone and who had a string of convictions as long as your arm, but again judicial discretion could see him serving half of his ten year lag.

It was Peters who originally came up with the three strikes idea and at the time it was envisaged the corner dairy would have to be replaced with a jailhouse. But as the figures show it's not the three strikes that's locking them up, it's a general lawlessness that's made building prisons the growth industry it's become.

So at the moment we've had the crumbs and we'll have to wait until next week when the Governor General delivers the coalition's cake from the Throne, their plans for the coming year.

In the meantime, Wellington's Lambton Quay, running from Parliament into the city, has become a parade of grey suits supporting well known heads on slouched shoulders - National Ministers from the former Government. They're often seen wondering forlornly, and at a slow pace, waiting for at least one of the thousands of civil servants who they used to control to stop and have a yarn.

The sorry sights have been even been seen window shopping.At least their families will benefit at Christmas, even on their diminished pay packets.


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