Act MP: “We’ve got too hung up on people’s rights.”

Also covered at frogblog and The Standard: Act MP David Garrett, walking caricature of a conservative old white man living in the past century (nay, millennium) isn’t too concerned by multiple legal opinions saying his “three strikes and you’re out” law is, um, kinda in breach of basic human rights. You see,

“I’m actually more interested in a victim’s rights than a criminal’s rights. We are talking about the “rights” of someone who has served at least two sentences for violent offending and just been sentenced to a third lot.”

What’s that, you say? A member of the Nonsensical Sentencing Trust thinks criminals aren’t real human beings, and “victims” and “criminals” are two eternally-mutually-exclusive group, easily spotted by their respective halos and dark skin/propensity to wear leather/youth fiery wings?

This one doesn’t even required rant-space and obscenity. The man’s a living stereotype.

David Garrett dismissed a report by Attorney-General Chris Finlayson that found three strikes had an apparent inconsistency with the section of Bill of Rights protecting New Zealanders against cruel, degrading or disproportionately severe punishment.

Mr Garrett had not read the report, but told of its findings yesterday said: “So what?”

“Alter the Bill of Rights Act. We’ve got too hung up on people’s rights.”

Mr Garrett said the Attorney-General’s report focused on three strikes being punishment, when it was equally a protective measure.

“It is saying you have blown two chances; despite two warnings you have come out and done this behaviour again and we are not going to allow you to remain in the community to become a killer.”

Come on, he said  “So what?”, for Pete’s sake. If there were ever a universal rallying cry of pig-headed thugs who don’t want to be asked to actually think about things before doing them …


  1. jcuknz

    Of the past decades the general ethic of many countries including New Zealand has been to emphasise a person’s rights without and to total exclusion of a person’s responsibility to society.

    A society cannot be a responsible society as Bill Sutch advocated unless in turn its members are responsible to their society.

    I do not support the three strikes proposal but can understand why Garrett made his comment, with rampant irresponsibility something needs to be done. More should be done to discourage people from engaging in pursuits which lead them to prison and if that fails to encourage them not to re-offend. Much cheaper I’m sure than building more prison unless perhaps one on the Auckland Islands et al. If they survived that they either would turn into even worse ratbags or perfect citizens with adequate and proper support on release.

  2. QoT

    rampant irresponsibility

    “Rampant irresponsibility”? What, do the kids need to get off your lawn? I have no time for people like Garrett who talk about wanting to clean up society at the cost of basic, fundamental things like “punishments should fit the crimes”, or who advocate the fragging death penalty. Sorry, I’d rather have taggers and boy racers roaming the streets than live in a country where civil and human rights get sacrificed so middle-aged conservative white men can pretend that they and their opinions aren’t increasingly irrelevant and stupid.

  3. jcuknz

    I have no lawn, just a jungle, so probably I am being suomewhat irresponsible too, but I am not talking about kids but rather their parents and the parents parents. Every day I see examples of people breaking the law or sensible behaviour which illustrats my point about caring only for themselves and to hell with the rest of society … and it is prevelent in drivers of late model cars as much of not more so than the remaining ‘old bombs’ fathfully chugging around. Setting a bad example to the children in the vehicles so how the hell will we ever reach the state of a responsible society. At least over the years of childhood I was taught by example to be somewhat responsible.

  4. Fem

    Every day Jcuk? I find that hard to believe. Are we talking about people parking on broken yellow lines? In my lifetime I’ve suffered one break-in so maybe you should move to Wellington. Where ever you’re living must be quite a dodgy place if you’re facing “law-breakers” EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    I think we need a “three strikes you’re out” rule on hysterical views on crime in NZ.

    We don’t have a crime epidemic. We don’t NEED bars on our windows anymore than we need human rights violations to justify stupid laws that make slow people ‘feel safer’ from God knows what.

    It’s always easy to sacrifice someone else’s human rights isn’t it? Much harder when it’s your own they’re trying to take away. And if he has such dim view of ‘rights’ in general surely it won’t be long before your basic human rights are at risk.

    The Three Strikes rule is only three strikes because that’s how far ACT supporters can count.

  5. jcuknz

    There are laws and ‘how to behave responsibly’ and while I can understand his position I think he is wrong n advocating ‘three strikes’. More good would come from policies which give everyone a place and worth in society. You are more likely to be responsible if you have something to loose. The sad thing is that I suspect for many who are placed in jail it is an improvement to their life style, but I could well be wrong on that. Until last week when a vintage motor-cycle was stolen from a neighbour I would have said I lived in a reasonably good neighbourhood, though a decade or so ago I did suffer from a break-in in a mild way … they stole the ‘rubbish’ and left the valuable.

  6. Fem

    “The sad thing is that I suspect for many who are placed in jail it is an improvement to their life style.”

    I’d say you’re very wrong on that one. Until you’ve been to prison or worked with people who have been jailed you simply can’t comment.

    One young man I worked with – in a prisoner advocacy role – had to “choose” whether to maim himself or be raped. He now has scars across his face from his time in prison when he was forced to drink bleach and was repeatedly bashed. And this was in a NZ prison.

    I suggest you speak to prisoners before you adopt the Sensible Sentencing Trust lines about ‘flatscreens’ and ‘underfloor heating’. Garth McVicar has an agenda. He wants people to hate inmates, and he wants them viewed as less than human so that he can bring Capital Punishment back.

    The truth is prison in NZ is not a nice place to be – and while it shouldn’t be a holiday, it should be safe for prisoners. They should not be at risk of rape, murder and beatings.

    Nobody in their right mind would choose to go to prison in NZ. And anybody not in their right mind should not be in prison in NZ.