Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Act leader wants prison for third burglary

Act Party leader Jamie Whyte. Photo / Natalie Slade
Act Party leader Jamie Whyte. Photo / Natalie Slade

Burglars will be sent to prison for a minimum of three years without parole on the third burglary conviction under new policy announced today by Act leader Jamie Whyte.

It will be a separate regime to the current three strikes law which requires a judge to sentence a convicted offender of a third serious violent crime to the maximum sentence without parole.

Act was responsible for the original three strikes law.

Speaking at his first Act conference as leader, Dr Whyte said burglary was a serious crime. His late mother had had her home burgled; the offenders had defecated all over her house and she never felt safe again.

He described burglary as "a traumatising crime that our penal code takes too lightly".

He said Act also wanted victims of crime to receive the compensation they were due. He said the party wanted to repeal the Resource Management Act and replace it with a law that addressed only market failures "not fantastical injuries to Gaia or the sensitivities of people with no real interest in your land".

"It will be a very small law."

Speaking to the conference of about 200 at a winery in Mangere, Dr Whyte, a former philosophy lecturer, also explained his comments of the past week in which he attracted unwanted headlines by saying he stood by previous comments that incest should not be illegal between consenting adults.

He did not actually use the word "incest" in his speech, but said he had been "lulled into a false sense of security" when being interviewed by a journalist. "This is easy, I thought, you just speak openly and honestly to reporters and you get good press."

"This week I was done over by the media. I was given a 'gotcha' question and as most of you probably know I walked straight into it." In the morning that the story ran in the Herald, he had many media interviews and said that "over the course of that morning, I moved from being a philosopher and columnist to being the Act Party leader."

He told reporters after the speech that he was in no way blaming the media and that he took full responsibility for his own "blunder".

"I am not going to tell you there will not be more 'gotcha' questions.

"When Labour leader David Cunliffe and Green co-leader Russel Norman get hold of my publications, I am sure I am going to be described as threat to Western civilisation. What I actually am is a threat to their lazy thinking."

- NZ Herald

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