National says it will reinstate the three-strikes rule if it gets into power and reverse any changes the Government makes to bail or sentencing laws.
Justice Minister Andrew Little said yesterday he would take a proposal to repeal the controversial three strikes law to Cabinet when it meets in 10 days.
That was part of "modest" package of policies which would be followed by more comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system.
Other measures proposed by Little included greater use of home detention for sentences of less than two years, and restoring the Sentencing Council to provide consistency in sentencing across the country.
National's justice spokesman Mark Mitchell said today that if his party was in Government in 2020 it would reverse the repeal of the three-strikes regime.
It would also reverse any changes to sentencing and bail laws "which will see more serious, violent offenders on the street".
An Act Party policy that was adopted by the National-led Government in 2010, three strikes ensured that third-time offenders who committed violent or sexual offences received the maximum sentence and no parole.
Mitchell said it had been an effective policy, and cited Ministry of Justice figures which showed there had been a 4.9 per cent reduction in first-strike offences and a 34 per cent reduction in second-strike offences since the law change.
National plans to target Winston Peters on law on order issues when he becomes Acting Prime Minister next month.
Peters' party NZ First has taken a harder stance on criminal justice issues than Labour and has campaigned for three strikes in the past.
It would be a "deep betrayal" of NZ First supporters to scrap the three-strikes regime, Mitchell said.
"For decades Winston Peters has been a champion for the three-strikes policy requiring tougher sentences for violent offenders.
"He needs to reassure the country that under his leadership the three-strikes law will not be repealed and our bail laws won't be weakened."
Little yesterday called three strikes a "gimmick".
"There's not much that three strikes does that can't be done in existing sentencing legislation."
His reforms aim to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent within 15 years.