Three Strikes to stay in embarrassing backdown

Justice Minister Andrew Little's plans to repeal the controversial Three Strikes law have been scuppered after coalition partner New Zealand First said it would not give its support.

In an embarrassing backdown, Little announced the move on the day he was due to take a paper to Cabinet pressing ahead with the initial stages of the Government's justice reforms.

Work in the area will now wait until after an August justice summit, with New Zealand First demanding a full proposal before supporting any measures.

Addressing the media, Little repeatedly said disagreements happened in a coalition government and justice reform would still happen.

He indicated that he had previously been given assurances that he had the mandate to press ahead with the repeal, but this had changed after New Zealand First members had time to "pause and reflect".

"Nothing gets before Cabinet without going through a variety of hoops beforehand."

Little's decision to announce to Newshub late last month that he was taking a paper to Cabinet to repeal the law has backfired against him.

Growing public outcry gave National a soft point to attack the Government and allowed New Zealand First an easy way to back out of their support.

For his part Little said he stood by all his judgments and that the failing criminal justice system needed fixing.

“We have to look at it again and say what is going to keep our communities safe, what is going to reduce reoffending.”

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