Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Three strikes for burglars ruled out

Justice Minister Amy Adams has ruled out tougher jail sentences for recidivist burglars
Justice Minister Amy Adams has ruled out tougher jail sentences for recidivist burglars

Justice Minister Amy Adams is ruling out stricter sentences for repeat burglars, saying they do not deter reoffending.

The minister was asked in Parliament today why people who had committed three or more burglaries were not being locked up.

As part of a series on burglary in New Zealand, the Herald revealed this week that the national resolution rate is a record-low 9.3 per cent.

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Act Party leader David Seymour asked Ms Adams during question time whether she was satisfied with the imprisonment rate for convicted burglars.

Ms Adams said all burglary offences included significant jail terms, but it was ultimately up to judges to decide sentences.

"I am satisfied that the range of available penalties provided in legislation for convicted burglars is appropriate," she said.

Mr Seymour pointed out that harsher penalties for repeat burglars in the Netherlands had cut burglary and car theft rates by 40 per cent.

The Act Party wants a "three strikes" regime for burglary, which would introduce a mandatory three-year jail sentence for a third offence.

Mr Seymour said a large proportion of burglars - as high as 28 per cent - with two existing convictions were not given a prison sentence on their third "strike".

In response, Ms Adams said she had seen no evidence that greater use of imprisonment terms would lead to a reduction in reoffending.

"What we have seen is that imprisonment is already the most common sentence for burglary offences, and yet there is still a recidivism rate that is too high."

Ms Adams cited figures which showed more than half of recidivist burglars were given a prison term.

- NZ Herald

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