Government moves to get tough on knife crime are welcome, but unlikely to be effective in limiting access to the weapons, says the father of a young man stabbed to death at a party.

Justice Minister Simon Power yesterday said the Government would adopt the recommendations made in a Ministry of Justice review of knife possession released this year.

Mr Power said the Crimes Act would be amended to lift the maximum penalty for possession of an offensive weapon from two to three years' imprisonment, while retaining the mandatory prison sentence for a second conviction for the same offence within two years.

Knives are involved in about 20 per cent of police arrests for possession of an offensive weapon, a crime which has been trending upward in recent years, particularly among those under 21.

The Government will also try to control young people's access to knives with the Ministry of Justice to work with retailers, local authorities and police to restrict the sale of knives to youth. The Government, however, has stopped short of a British-style ban on sales of knives to under-18s, which has been seen as ineffective. Education programmes are also planned for schools.

The moves have come as good news for Charlie Borrell, whose son, Augustine, was stabbed to death outside a Herne Bay party three years ago.

"I'm glad that he [Mr Power] is addressing this and identifying it as a problem that can only get worse, so it's great that some initiatives are being made."

However, Mr Borrell - who said he still gets angry and hurt when talking about the youth who took his son's life - was unconvinced lives would be saved by making it more difficult for young people to buy knives.

"My son died from a kitchen knife - what are you going to do? Youth do not go out shopping for a knife - they just grab what's available and my son died with just a standard steak knife from out of the kitchen drawer."

He did not believe any more than "a small percentage" of youth would absorb educational messages about the dangers of knives and didn't see that helping the problem.

Mr Borrell, whose son was killed by a youth already on bail for assault, said he favoured tougher sanctions against violent youth offenders, including short periods of incarceration, to "shock" them before they progressed to life-threatening crimes.

"It's easier to throw the book at them early on than after they've committed the ultimate crime when we, as taxpayers, cop a far bigger bill."

The Justice Ministry's knife review was ordered after Daryl Graydon, 26, was stabbed to death on an Auckland street by a man with a kitchen knife.

In sentencing Mr Graydon's attacker to life imprisonment, Justice Raynor Asher suggested a parliamentary review of knife possession laws.

Around the same time, the chairman of the Youth Justice Independent Advisory Group, Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft, also warned that the rise in knife crime overseas may be replicated here.

Yesterday, Mr Power said the measures were intended to "get ahead of a more systemic problem like, for example, we've seen in the UK over the last couple of years".

Daryl Graydon, 26, whose case sparked the review of knife possession laws, died after being stabbed following an altercation on a Howick street on December 8, 2007. The attacker, who has name suppression, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life with a minimum non-parole period of 11 years.

Austin Hemmings was stabbed after he went to the aid of a woman being attacked in Mills Lane, central Auckland, in September 2008. Pauesi Brown has been charged with Hemmings' murder.

Mark McCutcheon, 34, was stabbed outside a hotel in Onga Onga in Central Hawkes Bay after intervening in an argument between a man and a woman. He was found dead at the wheel of his ute the next morning. Hulio Ataria, 22, received a minimum non-parole sentence of 11 years in prison for his murder.

Auckland Grammar School student Augustine Borrell, 17, died from a single stab wound to the chest outside a party in Auckland City's Herne Bay, on September 8, 2007. Haiden Mark Davis, 20, was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 10 years for his murder.

* Maximum penalty for possession of an offensive weapon increased from two to three years.
* Police, local authorities and retailers to work on measures to restrict the sale of knives to young people.
* Police will work with schools to warn students of the dangers of carrying knives.
* Schools may also receive guidance about when they can search students.
* Police and other justice sector organisations will work on better information sharing around knife and other weapon use.