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Former minister returns to Otara teaching roots

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Former cabinet minister returns to Otara teaching roots to help new cops

Well-known barrister and former cabinet minister Matt Robson has returned to his teaching roots and is equipping prospective police recruits with a thorough grounding in the law, through an introductory course on New Zealand legislation at Manukau Institute of Technology.

Once a teacher in Otara, Matt has returned to the community to give the Introduction to New Zealand Law course lecture at MIT’s School of Foundation Studies.

Most of the students in his class are from MIT’s Preparation for Policing programme, which provides prospective police officers with the skills they need to enter the police recruitment process, at a time when the government has pledged to put 1000 new police officers on the streets.

A background in law and teaching are not the only attributes that qualify Matt for this role – as Minister of the Courts and Minister of Corrections from 1999 to 2002 and, as a member of parliament for six years, he has first-hand experience of the country’s legal processes.

“This gives me a wealth of knowledge to draw on, to help people understand our legal system.”

While it is good for all citizens to understand the country’s legal processes, it is essential for those entering law enforcement, says Matt, who aims to develop students’ knowledge of New Zealand’s legal framework and processes.

“The law can be daunting for many people. I hope to enable students to realise that the law is not a sealed book. It is accessible and can be relatively easily understood.”

Being involved with MIT’s Foundation Education programme, which enables students to gain qualifications to enter tertiary programmes or the workforce, has been a satisfying experience for Matt.

“I appreciate that many of the students have overcome a number of difficulties to gain further skills,” he says.

Having the Preparation for Policing course offered at a multicultural institute such as MIT, will boost the representation of different communities in the policeforce, as the government recruits the promised 1000 new officers over the next three years.

“There is a need to recruit police officers from a wider range of communities and for a higher number of female police officers,” says Matt.

MIT’s Preparation for Policing course prepares candidates for the police recruitment process, says programme leader Trevor Barnard.

“It provides a foundation for the tertiary study that candidates have to complete, as part of their training at police college. It also helps them meet the requirements to sit police entry exams.”

With the government looking to boost police numbers, this is a good time for people to consider a career with the police, says Trevor.

MIT’s Foundation Education is a comprehensive bridging programme that provides students with a thorough academic grounding in a supportive environment that promotes independence and confidence in students. For more information contact MIT on 0800 62 62 52, or visit


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