Gov’t to properly take stock of proposals for justice system reform, justice minister vows

by Sol Dolor27 Jul 2019

The government will properly take stock of the recommendations made in the Ināia Tonu Nei – The Time is Now: We Lead, You Follow report, Justice Minister Andrew Little said.

The report called for Māori to have a genuine leadership role in the overhaul of the criminal justice system. Recommendations made included the abolition of the current prisons system and of Oranga Tamariki.

The report reflects the sentiment at the hui Māori held in April, where Māori discussed their experiences and challenges faced dealing with the country’s justice system. Little thanked the organisers, including the representatives of the roopu, Katie Murray and Tā Mark Solomon.

“I thank Ta Mark and Katie alongside the organisers of the Hui Māori, Te Ohu Whakatika, for delivering a successful event and, subsequently, the report,” Little said. “I had the privilege of being invited to this event, and indeed I spoke at it. The depth of feeling toward the justice system was obvious, as was the sense of urgency that we collectively need to grasp the generational opportunity to improve the justice system.”

He said that evident at the event was abundant generosity of spirit, collegiality, and a genuine intent to partner with the Crown to develop a better justice system for Aotearoa.

“I acknowledge there is work that we must do to improve the justice system, and the Ināia Tonu Nei report contains many recommendations that this government will take the time necessary to examine,” Little said.

He called the report an “important step in our journey toward a better justice system.” It also complements the He Waka Roimata: A Vessel of Tears report from Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora - the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group and upcoming reports examining victims’ issues from the chief victims advisor.

“It is clear that New Zealanders from across the country are calling for the criminal justice system to be overhauled. It is also clear that we must do better for Māori, who are over-represented in nearly every stage of the justice system. We need a criminal justice system that holds to account, and that strives to change the factors in offenders’ lives that cause offending. The objective must be less offending, less re-offending, and fewer victims of crime who are better supported,” Little said.