ACT pushes Three Strikes for Burglary Bill

ACT leader David Seymour (File)
ACT leader David Seymour (File)

ACT leader David Seymour wants to introduce a Three Strikes for Burglary Bill to Parliament, leaving burglars with a three-year jail sentence after the third offence.

Police say there are 50,000 burglaries a year but half are not reported.

Mr Seymour says uninsured victims typically do not report crimes, and the reported rate of burglaries represents only about 45 percent of actual occurrences.

He says even then, only around one in 10 burglaries are resolved, but resolution does not even mean charges are laid.

"Only a proportion of those charges (about 30 percent) result in conviction. Only 40 percent of those convicted of burglary are imprisoned. So in the end, less than 2 percent of reported burglaries result in any burglar serving a term of imprisonment, and when they do, it is generally a term of only a few months," he says.

He told Newshub's Duncan Garner burglary is not just about things being stolen, but about "a sense of invasion" and "people are traumatised" by it.

Mr Seymour says National are "luke warm" on the Bill, but he's confident of their support, along with public support.

"I think they're going to come round," he says. "Resolution rates are falling. If we can't catch more people then the only thing left is to keep the people who are caught in jail longer."

Mr Seymour says the idea has worked in the United Kingdom.

"Ultimately for people to be safe in their home it's something we should be prepared to do. We don't want to end up like the [United] States."

He says the actual number of New Zealanders committing burglaries is "far smaller than you think."

"It may only be a couple of hundred people in New Zealand who are committing 90 percent of burglaries," he says.

Mr Seymour has a draft Bill ready to introduce to the House.

Any burglar convicted for their third offence would face a mandatory three-year jail sentence.

"This would protect countless New Zealanders not just from material loss, but from the unquantifiable anguish and stress of having their home violated," he says.