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‘New direction’ for criminal justice

The Minister for Justice, Andrew Little has welcomed reports on New Zealand’s criminal justice system, announcing the Government would be taking a “new direction” for criminal justice reform.

The reports were delivered by Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora (Turuki! Turuki!), the Chief Victims Advisor to Government (Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform) and the organisers of the Hui Māori for justice (Ināia Tonu Nei – Now is the Time).

Mr Little said he intended to make Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Courts permanent, by extending their operation in Auckland and Waitākere by two years and announced plans for an additional AODT Court in Waikato.

Turuki! Turuki! — which is a traditional call to the crew of a waka to work together and create forward motion with urgency — provides recommendations for a fundamental reshaping of Aotearoa New Zealand’s justice system to one which prevents harm, addresses its causes, and promotes healing and restoration among individuals and communities.

Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform, which means “the heart that says ‘no more’ in order to protect our taonga: future generations”, sets out the recommendations of Chief Victims Advisor to Government, Kim McGregor on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims.

 Ināia Tonu Nei – Now is the Time captures the kōrero at a national Māori hui held in Rotorua in April to discuss Māori experiences with the justice system.

Published in July 2019, the report calls for Māori to have a genuine leadership role in creating a future justice system for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Mr Little said the Government was looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending.

“The old ways have failed us,” Mr Little said.

“They have resulted in too little rehabilitation and therefore more crime, while not doing enough to support victims.”

“The Government is open to reaching across the aisle on tackling our failed criminal justice system and building a new consensus on how we approach this issue,” he said.

Further work on a long-term Government response will be detailed in 2020.