Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 6
Justice : What is your view of the New Zealand justice system?
Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over the past 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting today (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.
Question : Can you indicate your views on the justice system in New Zealand. Do you endorse restorative justice or prefer the fill the prisons option?
Submitted by : Julie Berriman, Blenheim
LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS
Answer from Grant Robertson
I think it’s time we admitted that the lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key justice system hasn’t worked.
Instead of making our communities safer, prisons too often result in criminals graduating to more serious crime – perpetuating the problem.
Rather than treating justice as a political hobby horse we need to have a rigorous debate on how to build a pragmatic and evidenced based response to crime.
We must address the causes of crime, in particular unemployment, poverty and lack of educational success if we are to have any hope of reducing offending.
While prisons will remain an unfortunate necessity for serious offenders, restorative justice can play a much larger role than it does now.
It’s been proven to lead to better outcomes for victims and reduce re-offending by up to 20%.
Where prison is required its vital that we invest in effective rehabilitation such as drug and alcohol counselling, teaching literacy and skills training so offenders break the cycle of crime.
Answer from David Cunliffe
I believe all New Zealanders should have the chance to live in and enjoy safe communities. One where crime levels are low and there is a fair justice system.
Those who commit crimes should be dealt with firmly and responsibly to encourage rehabilitation and reduce repeat offending.
More prisons and prisoners are not sustainable.
We need to address the causes of crime and wider symptoms and create a safe and secure society that guarantees civil and human rights, ensures equal access to justice, and promotes public safety.
Answer from Shane Jones
The prisons are already full of too many Whanau from te Ao Maori.
Our focus should always be on early intervention, jobs and industry for our young people to steer them alway from crime.
A weak job market, limited training opportunities and poor investment in our regions breeds hopelessness.
Obviously security is vital in the community however economic remedies are the best investment for changing people’s lives.