The families of people who were murdered or viciously assaulted say they can breathe easier after learning the three strike law will not be repealed.

The relatives of people who were subjected to some of the country's worst crimes have welcomed the announcement today by Justice Minister Andrew Little, who said it would not go ahead after New Zealand First raised concerns about it.

The three strikes law was passed by the National-led Government in 2010 and dictates that a person with three warnings after serious violent, sexual or drugs convictions can be sentenced to the maximum jail time without parole.

Charlie Borrell, whose teenage son Augustine was murdered by Haiden Davis in 2007, told the Herald Little's announcement was a big relief and felt common sense had prevailed.


"I thought wow that's fantastic news. I suppose there's some common sense there."

Borrell said two-thirds of the population supported three strikes in the polls, so was pleased NZ First has listened.

"The results are showing there has been a reduction in second strikers under the three strikes law."

For him personally, he said it meant her could breathe a little bit better.

"I'm a lot more happier. I wasn't looking forward to seeing another family go through what we did during out time. So it's just a bit of a sigh of relief."

Davis would be released next year and Borrell said his biggest fear was bumping into him in the community.

Emma Stevens, whose brother Matthew was murdered and his body dumped on Paekakariki Hill in November 2014, said it was a massive relief.

"For me I can just breathe a little bit more easier knowing that. I'm happy to hear that."


Stevens said if the three strikes rule had been in place prior to 2010 then one of her brother's killers would have already had his third strike. Instead he was on his first strike.

"My brother would be alive today if this man wasn't released from prison.

"For me it just means there are measures in place to keep us safe in society. These people deserve to be in prison grounds. They do not deserve to be out in the public."

Hayley Heke, whose family member was the victim of a traumatic and violent home invasion, said some offenders could not be rehabilitated.

One of these offenders was Dylan Davis who was sentenced in Hamilton last month for murdering Aroha Kerehoma and had told the court only the death penalty would stop him was one these people, she said.

"There are people like him and the three strikes is to protect us from them. We can't have those people walking our streets. You don't want victims of crime - there's no need for it."

Heke was pleased three strikes rule would not be removed and said it was now up the judges to use it.