And we reckon he's on to a winner with his campaign for tougher sentences for those who abuse animals. The Dom-Post's leader writer agrees in today's editorial, which begins:
No Kiwi able to feel empathy is left untouched by the tales of cruelty toward animals that make their way into the news with distressing regularity. During the holiday break there has been the usual run of them – a staffordshire-cross dog doused in solvent in Invercargill, cattle left to starve on farms, a dog, yoked to a 10 kilogram weight, found drowned near Titahi Bay.
The SPCA says the summer months mean a disturbing rise in animal violence. Sadly, animal cruelty happens at other times of the year, too.
Take Lincoln, an elderly ridgeback stolen as dog-fighting bait last year, who fortunately survived. The man who stole him, William Campbell, 25, of Porirua, pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Animal Welfare Act.
How about Wellington couple Floyd and Antoinette McGovern, banned last August from owning a pet for life, after their old tabby was found emaciated, covered in faeces, and with maggots growing in its flesh. Or 28-year-old Naomi Williams, of Naenae, who pleaded guilty to a charge of starving her crossbred puppy, founding stumbling and barely alive in a Lower Hutt street.
Or Dunedin teenager Jeffrey Hurring, who was jailed for 10 months – the longest custodial term for animal cruelty in New Zealand – for brutally killing a jack russell terrier.
The never-ending litany of what human beings do to animals every year in this country makes the average person feel sick. But a group of people delights in the thought – and the act – of torturing animals, sometimes someone else's pet.
The leader writer then comments on Bridges' campaign:
If National's Tauranga MP, Simon Bridges, is lucky, such persecutors will face greater jail time in future. When Parliament resumes, he will put into the members' ballot a private member's bill to increase the maximum penalty for wilful ill-treatment of animals from three, to five years' imprisonment.
His rationale is simple. "A tougher penalty," he says, "would ... be in line with increasingly clear research that those who do serious harm to animals are much more likely to perpetrate family, as well as other violence. In addition, the research shows that psychopathic offenders, often as first offending, demonstrate a propensity for cruelty through abuse of animals".
It's well known that Simon Bridges was formerly a Crown Prosecutor, so daily he was dealing with/to the lowlifes of this world that most of us only connect with via the media and the internet. We reckon he's got a far better insight into criminal behaviour than most of those who occupy seats in the Debating Chamber.
In addition, as one of the younger MP's in the House, Bridges has been adept in using social networking sites to advance his cause. Already, his Support Simon Bridges campaign to raise maximum sentence for animal abusers Facebook page has over 500 fans, and support is growing by the day. We urge those of you who use Facebook and feel as strongly about this issue as we do to join.
We will be following this campaign with considerable interest. We hope that Simon Bridges will quickly receive the news that his Bill has been drawn from the ballot, but we'd be even happier if the Government adopted the Bill, ensuring its passage. In any event, we wish Bridges well with his campaign, which we support wholeheartedly.