MEDIA RELEASE: Only 1 in 4 support scrapping of ‘Three Strikes’ law


24 November 2021

A poll has found that just 25% of New Zealanders want the ‘Three Strikes’ law repealed, including just 29% of Labour voters. Almost half of Labour voters want the law retained.

The nationwide poll of 1,000 New Zealanders was commissioned by Family First NZ and carried out by Curia Market Research. Respondents were asked “Since 2010, New Zealand has had a ‘Three Strikes’ sentencing law for serious violent and sexual offenders who continue to commit offences. This law removes parole eligibility for repeat offenders and imposes the maximum prison term available for the offence committed, for those who offend a third or subsequent time. Do you want the three strikes law to remain, or to be repealed?”

Only 25% of respondents want Three Strikes repealed, with 44% wanting it to remain and 31% unsure. Older respondents were more in favour of Three Strikes remaining.

Net support for the law to remain by 2020 Party Vote is: National +45%, ACT +40%, Labour +17% and Greens +7%.

Ironically, the Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi when introducing the bill to scrap the law saidthe public don’t like this law”. He is wrong.

Gang-related shootings and the use of firearms in general – including against our police – have become disturbingly normal. In 2020, gun crime hit a new peak. Firearm related offences are nearly double that of just 10 years ago. And family violence is also sadly on the increase. Even frontline services are expressing concern.

In a 2018 report, Justice Department officials admitted that “…in comparison with second strikeable offences committed before the law came into effect there has been a drop in the number of second strike offences since the laws implementation.”

“The Labour government had no public mandate for scrapping it, and the evidence suggests it is having the desired effect. There has been a dramatic drop from the number of 1st strikes to 2nd strikes and then again to a third strike. Criminals aren’t stupid. They are well aware of the law and its consequences. If the regime is scrapped, the government is in danger of sending a message that we’re not serious about the It’s Not OK zero-tolerance message on family violence, or zero tolerance on gun violence or sexual violence. The Three Strikes law reinforces that we take victimisations seriously,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

An Official Information Act request at the end of 2018 said that for 2nd and 3rd strikers:

  • they had an average of 42 convictions as an adult. For 3rd strikers, it’s an average of 74 convictions
  • 91% were assessed as being at a high risk of reoffending
  • 56% committed their 2nd strike on bail or parole or while serving a sentence.
  • 40% have a “strike type” conviction from prior to the three strikes regime

“This data indicates that the three strikes regime is accurately targeting the serious recidivist offenders.”



For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First

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