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Wednesday, 24 April 2019 07:50 am

TOP tops criminal justice policy election scorecard

On a scale of “next step, actual justice” to “where are you even going?!”, The Opportunities Party rates the highest on a criminal justice policy scorecard.

JustSpeak, an advocacy group for youth in the criminal justice system, produced a scorecard rating political parties according to how progressive their justice policies are.

They rate parties in four areas where they believe progressive reforms can be made.

The Opportunities Party earns top marks in three out of the four areas, and is only halfway there in the fourth category.

Co-author Emmet Maclaurin, co-author of the scorecards says the categories are: empowering communities to reduce social harm, reducing the targeted criminalisation of Maori, investing in community and justice initiatives and reducing the prison population.

“The TOP Party had really great ideas in three of the categories, but unfortunately they fell down in not having any specific targets to reduce the targeted criminalisation of Maori,” he says.

At the bottom, with four red marks for “where are you even going” is the Conservative Party, closely followed by New Zealand First.

Emmet Maclaurin says the scorecard is useful for both before and after the elections.

“I think if you are an undecided voter who cares about having a progressive criminal justice system, and a less punitive one then looking at parties who have bold policies to transform the criminal justice system is a really good way of deciding who to vote for.”

He says JustSpeak can use its election priorities to hold the next government to account, whether they campaigned on criminal justice reform or not.

Emmet Maclaurin, co-author of the scorecards

If the winning party had campaigned on policies which include setting specific targets, they will be looking to see those policies implemented, and the targets reached.

“If we get a government that hasn’t necessarily aimed to achieve those election priorities then we would be advocating for them to adopt those policies in government.”

National does not score particularly favourably, with no top mark ratings at all, while Labour scores well with four ‘the right direction’ marks.

Based on the scorecard, The Maori Party, TOP, Greens and Mana rate the highest for progressive reforms in the justice system.

“Clearly none of those parties are going to lead the government,” the co-author says.

“But if some of those parties were in coalition at least, and could push those policies that would be a real step forward, I think.”

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