New Zealand First says its Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill drawn from the Member’s Ballot today will impose tougher sentences on criminals committing serious crimes such as operating a P-Lab when children are present.
Social policy spokesperson Asenati Lole-Taylor says the Bill will make criminal offending in the presence of a minor aged under-17 an aggravating factor at sentencing.
“There have been numerous media reports of children being placed in danger when crimes are committed, which shows a real need for the Bill to be passed into law.
“The Bill strengthens judges’ powers when sentencing offenders where minors were exposed to the potential of serious harm, such as during the manufacture of methamphetamine at a residential address.”
Mrs Lole-Taylor says a child must only be present in premises where methamphetamine is being manufactured, or during other illegal activity, for a judge to impose a harsher penalty.
“This clause was deliberately written into the Bill to remove from the prosecution the burden of having to prove the child is a victim.”
The Bill covers emotional and psychological harm inflicted on children by illegal activity, as well as physical harm.
“I call on all political parties to support this Bill,” says Mrs Lole-Taylor.