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Minister praises Rotorua courthouse renovations

News release

Minister praises Rotorua courthouse renovations

19th May 2000 EMBARGOED UNTIL 2PM

Courts Minister Matt Robson today officially opened the $3 million upgrade of the Rotorua courthouse and unveiled a mural by local students to mark the occasion.

In his first public address as Courts Minister, Matt Robson said the Government recognises the need to invest in the court system through the modernisation of court services, the enhancement of court security, and the upgrading of court buildings.

“Our aim is to provide court facilities that meet the needs of local people. Well designed and modern courthouses mean a more friendly environment for the judiciary, staff and court users alike,” says Matt Robson.

He expressed his support for a restorative justice pilot scheme operating through the Rotorua court. This pilot scheme, which started in here in mid-1999, is run by Mana Social Services in partnership with the Court and justice agencies including the Safer Community Council, the Police, the Crime Prevention Unit and the Ministry of Justice.

"Restorative Justice options are not soft options. They are tough options that work. The present retributive system in contrast, has failed to reduce the high rate of re-offending, and it has failed to make the community feel safe."

Matt Robson said the Rotorua pilot scheme is about providing the victims of crime with options to become involved in the sentencing process. It gives victims of crime an opportunity to begin the healing process. It gives offenders an option to make amends for the offending and to confront their offending.

Mr Robson paid tribute to the creative skill and flair of the young people from Western Heights High School who undertook the mural project.

“The mural represents the promise of greater community involvement with your courthouse, and within the court system.

"The significance of the mural is both to the Family court and to the community as the young people through their art have expressed their message that family is of the utmost importance for the success of our community,” Mr Robson said.

For further information please contact: Barry Ebert, Department for Courts, 021 636 416 (04 918 8893)

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