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Preferred site for Youth Justice centre announced

11 October 2006

Preferred site for Youth Justice centre announced

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

The 10-hectare site is on Parekarangi Trust land, off State Highway 30, Rotorua, 12 kilometres south of Rotorua City.

Ms Dyson said the challenging requirements for a Youth Justice Residence were well met by the site.

“The land has the twin benefits of enabling the residence to be close to amenities, whilst having minimal impact on the surrounding environment.

“Child, Youth and Family is engaged in negotiations with the Trust and inform me that the working relationship is both positive and constructive.

“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.”

“It is very pleasing to have taken the next step in delivering a vital resource to the Bay of Plenty/Waikato area– that is the ability to work with young offenders to effect change in their lives without removing them from the essential links to whanau and their community.”

Ms Dyson said she had instructed Child, Youth and Family to undertake an eight week public consultation period prior to applying for designation of the site.

“Good consultation and feedback will enable us to improve the quality of our decisions and respond effectively to individual and community needs. Community support and participation is essential to the success of this project, in order to secure better outcomes for our young people.”

Child, Youth and Family is planning to seek a designation for 40 young people to be accommodated. The residence is planned to be built in stages. Initially 24 young people will be housed in the residence.

The consultation period closes on December 15, after which Minister Dyson will announce her decision on whether Child, Youth and Family is to proceed to designation with this site.

“My preference would be to announce this before Christmas, however it’s dependant on the nature of the submissions and specialist reports such as further geological and engineering studies.”

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

ENDS

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