The New Zealand government on Thursday introduced the Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill to repeal portions of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act of 2010, which together form the mandatory sentencing regime known as the Three Strikes Act.
The Three Strike Law was enacted to deter repeat offenders by threatening them with progressively longer mandatory prison terms and to punish repeat offenders through a three-step process. There are 40 offenses eligible for three strikes, which include all serious violence and sexual violence offenses that carry a maximum jail term of seven years or more.
According to the government’s policy statement on the repeal bill, the three-stroke law’s mandatory sentencing regime has led to unfair results that disproportionately affect Maori. The disproportionate effects on indigenous peoples have raised concerns over conflicts with New Zealand Bill of Rights law. New Zealand Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said: “The three-strike regime is an anomaly in the New Zealand justice system that dictates the sentences judges must pass, regardless of the relevant factors.
The bill restores the usual sentencing standards for strike-related offenses by allowing the judge to choose an appropriate sentence on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the bill expressly rejects any claim for compensation with regard to the impacts of the law of the three strikes. In addition, it does not contain any transitional provisions for those currently serving prison sentences for strike offenses.
National Party spokesman Simon Bridges disapproved of the bill and noted, “At a time when guns and violent crime are reaching record levels, Labor is doubling down on its soft approach to crime with the repeal of the Three Strike Act. This will endanger public safety. “