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Budget 2004: Justice investment exceeds $1 billion

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice

Justice investment to exceed $1 billion

"Budget 2004 commits funding of just over $1 billion to the justice system over the next four years," says Justice Minister Phil Goff.

"The allocation includes $404 million to cover decisions taken since last year's budget. Budget 2004 provides an additional $596 million for new initiatives and infrastructural projects, some of which have been announced in recent weeks.

"Like all core government agencies, the justice system was run down under National's 'decade of neglect'. The lack of investment throughout the 1990s eroded all state services, shaking public confidence in the state's ability to meet its basic needs.

"The Labour-Progressive Government is continuing to restore strong public services. Addressing operational and capital spending shortfalls in the justice sector follows spending in previous years to redress neglect in other critical social services such as health and education.

"Today we are announcing an increase of $34.3 million over four years for extra fines collection staff and resources. This is expected to net the taxpayer an additional $94.5 million in fine payments.

"There is also more than $200 million for the Department of Corrections, including a large capital injection for new prison construction.

"Other moves, already announced, include:

$70.2 million over four years for Police to strengthen national security capability; crack down on organised crime and methamphetamine producers, and to invest in Auckland area infrastructure and operations; and an additional $73.4 million for Courts to tackle delays and improve facilities.

"In recent years good headway has been made in the fight against drugs and crime. We need to continue to invest in the justice system to keep the pressure on criminals and make our communities more secure," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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