Last weekend I attended the 76th annual conference of the National Party in Auckland. This event bought together well over 500 delegates and observers from across the country, including our senior Cabinet ministers and my caucus colleagues.
Delegates heard addresses from Finance Minister Bill English and other ministers on National’s priorities to responsibly manage the Government’s finances, build a stronger economy, deliver better public services, and rebuild Christchurch. The Prime Minister concluded the conference with his address about the next steps in National’s mixed ownership model.
Law and order was also a central theme of the conference, and an area that is important to me, and our Indian community.
Recorded crime continues to decrease under National’s leadership, with a decrease of 4.8% for 2011 – a 15 year low.
That’s because we know a lot about crime – where it tends to occur, who it tends to affect, and the underlying factors that contribute to criminal behaviour.
Now we’re taking what we know, and turning it into comprehensive action across the justice and social sectors – Police, Corrections and the Ministry of Justice will be working closely with Child, Youth and Family and the Ministry of Health.
Criminal justice accounts 80 for per cent of justice sector spending –from crime prevention, response and investigation; through the courts; and on to sentence management, rehabilitation and reintegration.
We’re helping agencies to work together, better, and there’s been a real focus on prevention.
Justice sector agencies are collaborating more closely than ever before, with the Chief Executives of Police, Justice and Corrections making joint decisions as the Justice Sector Leadership Board; and the new Justice Sector Fund – a first for the public service – which lets savings be transferred between agencies and across years to where they will make the biggest difference. This means the sector can be more efficient and flexible.
The justice sector has 22,000 staff and a budget of $3.8 billion each year, as well $1.8 billion of capital spending over the next five years.
As a part of our plan to build better public services in New Zealand, we have also set have targets to reduce prisoner reoffending by 25% and reduce the rates of overall crime by 15%, violent crime by 20%, and youth crime by 5%, all by 2017.
National make no apologies for setting demanding targets in the area of Law and Order. We’re committed achieving these targets, and overall, build a brighter future for all New Zealanders.