• Tony Ryall

"Mr Goff's hysterical reaction to the Victims Rights Bill indicates how devoid of new ideas is the Labour Party" says Justice Minister Tony Ryall. "His comments come only months after he wholeheartedly endorsed my proposals when announced".

Mr Ryall has also indicated further new victims rights are expected next year.

"This new Bill does provide statutory rights to be heard in Court and before a Parole Board. It does give judges the power to suppress impact statements.

"These new statutory rights are enforceable. The principles in the old Act - supported by Mr Goff - are carried over in this new bill. These are principles. And they need do improvement.

"But it is not a question of simply changing "should" to "must". It is unclear which agency or agencies is/are responsible for complying with each of these principles. More work needs to be done on how to define responsibilities and enforce obligations to victims and their families under these principles. In April I directed the Ministry of Justice to begin this work and I expect a report in December.

"Further legislation can be expected late next year.

"However I am not prepared to delay the new statutory rights until this work is completed.

"When I became Justice Minister in February I had three priorities for this year: tougher penalties for home invasion; a new plan to turn young people from a life of crime; and more for victims. This bill, plus proposed changes to the bail laws, are part of those plans.

"These new rights for victims have been endorsed by Victim Support New Zealand.

"Labour are johnny-come-latelys on victims rights. We've heard nothing from them in nine years and now they are all over it.

"Mr Goff's real effort is now in the Foreign Affairs area. I think he should go back to being hysterical on those issues and leave victims alone".