It's ineffectual, interferes with judges, and is out of fashion overseas.
That's Justice Minister Kris Faafoi's view on the contentious three-strikes law, and three reasons he cited today for discarding the law.
Faafoi announced the introduction of the Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill. But it's still unclear what will happen to criminals sentenced under the old regime.
The Green Party welcomed the overhaul but Act and National said the Government was putting the interests of offenders before victims.
Three-strikes was an Act creation from 2010 when the party was in a coalition with National.
Faafoi today said the three-strikes law had no impact on violent crime and ended up stripping judges of their discretion.
"The three strikes regime is an anomaly in New Zealand's justice system that dictates what sentences judges must hand down irrespective of relevant factors," he said.
"It has led to some absurd outcomes," he added.
He said one person was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for an offence where usually an 18 month term would be imposed.
Faafoi said backers of the law had incorrectly argued it would improve public safety.
The law meant people convicted of a third serious violent, sex or drug offence should get the maximum available sentence without parole, unless it would be manifestly unjust.
The law was in place for eight years before a Whanganui stabber received the maximum penalty.
All judges in earlier cases nationwide said maximum terms would be manifestly unjust.
Faafoi today rejected suggestions judges had been in rebellion.
He said overseas, California had repealed aspects of a three-strike law, as had Australia's Northern Territory.
He said before three-strikes, it was possible for lengthy jail terms to be imposed and referred to Mt Wellington-Panmure RSA triple murderer William Dwane Bell, jailed without parole for 30 years.
Faafoi said judges will still be able to impose severe sentences on serious offenders.
Faafoi said Cabinet agreed to discuss how the law change might affect people already sentenced under three-strikes rules.
He said the public, opposition politicians and other interested groups would have the chance to make submissions on the repeal.
The Green Party welcomed what it called long-overdue repeal of an "archaic" law but said the Government must go further to transform a broken justice system.
The Greens had long argued for repeal and were delighted at today's news, the party's justice spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman said.
Bridges praises Winston for stopping 'barmy' repeal
National Party justice spokesman Simon Bridges said the repeal made today a "tragic" day for New Zealand.
"It will put public safety at more risk and it will result in more victimisation of victims."
He said gang numbers were increasing exponentially and the repeal would exacerbate gun crime.
Bridges said some criminals could raise the prospect of compensation for time served during three-strike sentences.
In Labour's first term, Winston Peters and New Zealand First thwarted attempts to repeal three-strikes in 2018.
"He stopped some barmy things. And in this area I see entirely eye-to-eye with him," Bridges said of Peters.
"The reality is though, he did choose [Labour] and if he'd made a different choice ... we wouldn't have to worry about things like that, and New Zealanders would have been safe with the three-strikes law."
Faafoi in the House of Representatives this afternoon said there was no mention of compensation within the proposed law changes.
Act said Faafoi's announcement was a disaster.
"New Zealand's most violent criminals, who have repeatedly carried out crimes like murder, rape and serious assaults, will get softer sentences," Act's justice spokeswoman Nicole McKee said.
The party launched a petition against the repeal this morning even before Faafoi officially made his announcement.
McKee and Act leader David Seymour said the repeal showed Labour was putting the interests of the worst criminals ahead of victims' rights.
"For every offence carried out, there is a victim. Labour seems to have forgotten that," McKee added.
Seymour said thought could be given to extending three-strikes beyond sex and violence offences to cover white-collar criminals such as major serial fraudsters.
Lawyer and former Criminal Bar Association president Gary Gotlieb said there was no evidence to show three-strikes worked.
"It can be completely unjust," he said.
"Many judges struggle with it. Sentencing involves a judge's discretion in sentencing, treating people as individuals. A judge weighs up both mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
"Courts have had more work to do dealing with process, and prisons have people who should be released into the community to start rehabilitation and are taking up prison space."
A 2018 report on the Ministry of Justice website found studies on three-strikes laws were insubstantial and inconclusive.
"Research in this area appears to be prone to political bias," the report added.
Another document cited anecdotal reports some judges were already postponing sentencing hearings in anticipation of the repeal.
However, the Herald understands any judge who explicitly adjourned sentencing for this reason would almost certainly face a challenge from prosecutors.
Several criminal courts are already under significant strain due to delays and disruptions the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have imposed.