Nats' new prison plan draws big support

National has huge support for one of its most draconian new law-and-order policies - the power to keep someone in prison after serving his or her sentence if the prisoner is deemed dangerous enough.

Only 21.7% of people disapprove of the policy and 72.6% approve.

It is most popular among National fans, with 87% of them liking it, but its support goes a lot wider.

Of the people who said they backed Labour, 58.4% approved of the policy. Even Green Party supporters are fairly evenly split, with 48.3% approving and 46% disapproving - an indication that the Greens, a party traditionally strong on civil liberties, may be attracting a more conservative supporter.

The policy was announced on Monday last week by Corrections Minister Judith Collins, who is in line to take over the justice portfolio vacated by the retirement of Simon Power.

The new civil detention orders would be issued by a High Court judge against prisoners deemed to be at imminent risk of serious sexual or violent reoffending. National estimates the orders would apply to between five and 12 offenders in a 10-year period.

On the same day that National released its law and order policy, Labour said it aimed to lift paid parental leave to six months, and support for that is more divided, with 51.5% for and 44.5% against.

More controversially, Labour decided to reverse its opposition to giving the In Work Tax Credit to beneficiaries with children, which 54% oppose and 36.9% support.

National has yet to release its education policy but its flagship policy in the first term, National Standards for primary schools - reporting to parents every six months against a set standard - finds favour with most voters, though not overwhelmingly.

Only 60.5% say it is a good idea and should stay, whereas 24.7% believe it is a poor idea and should go, and 14.8% didn't know or said nothing.

But given that Labour has so fiercely opposed the policy, it is more surprising that nearly half of Labour supporters, 49%, believe it is a good policy and should stay. The greatest support is among New Zealand First supporters, with 85.7%.


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