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Alternative sites to be investigated

4 May 2006

Alternative sites to be investigated

Further research into alternative potential sites is needed before a decision will be made on where a new central North Island youth justice residential centre is to be sited, Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

A 19-hectare site on Te Waerenga Road, off State Highway 36, at Kaharoa near Rotorua was preferred after an extensive search. Public consultation on the site was called for and closed in April.

"I have received a report summarising the public submissions and outlining several alternatives. I have asked for more research into each option to be done before making a final decision," says Ms Dyson.

A site is needed in the central North Island area to 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," says Ms Dyson.

"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/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 says she has instructed Child, Youth and Family to carry out further research and hopes to receive a recommendation on a preferred site by 30 September 2006. The site would then be the subject of public consultation.

ENDS

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