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Preferred site announced for youth justice centre

Hon Ruth Dyson
Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment (Child, Youth and Family)

21 November 2005 Media Statement

Preferred site announced for youth justice centre

A Rotorua site has been selected for consideration for a new youth justice residential centre in the central North Island, Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

The 19-hectare site is on Te Waerenga Road, off State Highway 36, Rotorua.

Ms Dyson said the site could accommodate the buildings, recreation areas, utility services and buffer areas required for the new centre, and would provide specialised regional care for up to 32 young people who offend.

“The centre will help make our communities safer and give young people who offend in the Bay of Plenty/Waikato area a chance to turn around their lives.

“Currently, young people who are sentenced by the courts to spend time in a residence must be sent out of the region, away from their families and whanau. The lack of youth justice facilities in the region also means some young people remanded in custody are being held in police cells, alongside adult offenders. Clearly, neither situation is acceptable.”

Ruth Dyson said she had instructed Child, Youth and Family to carry out thorough and open-minded consultation regarding the site in the coming months.

“Through consultation and feedback, it is intended that any community concerns are identified and, if possible, addressed before I make a decision on whether to proceed with this site.”

In February 2005, Ruth Dyson formed a working group, chaired by former South Waikato mayor Gordon Blake, to assist Child, Youth and Family find a suitable site for the proposed centre. The working group has carried out an extensive search, considering more than 40 sites on both Crown land and commercially available land. A public call for sites was also made.

A community information day to discuss the proposed site will be held at the Kaharoa Community Hall on 29 November, from 1pm-7pm. People have until Saturday, 4 February 2006 to provide feedback about the site.

To take part in the consultation, please contact the Youth Justice Central project team on 0800YJCENTRAL (0800 952 368) or www.youthjusticecentral.co.nz


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