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Initiatives strengthen modern justice system

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Corrections
Hon Annette King
Minister of Justice, Minister of Police
Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts

Initiatives strengthen modern justice system
Budget 2008 provides a range of initiatives across the wider justice sector to strengthen the justice system and ensure that New Zealanders live in safe and responsive communities.

Justice and Police Minister Annette King, Corrections Minister Phil Goff and Courts and Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker say different parts of the justice sector must not work in isolation.

“There must be a cohesive approach across the sector to create a fair and safe society. That’s why Budget 2008 enhances capability in policing, in the prison system, in courts, in the probation service, and in terms of legal aid provision and victims’ rights. A modern justice system depends on all parts working together effectively,” the ministers said.

Annette King said that police capability is a key starting point.

“Budget 2008 provides $180 million in operating funding over four years, including $17.4 million that is being provided from the National Land Transport Fund, and $9.5 million in capital funding in 2008/09 for the third and final tranche of the extra 1000 sworn police and 250 non-sworn committed to in the government’s confidence and supply agreement with New Zealand First.

“This recruitment campaign has been a major success story in terms of making our communities safer. This tranche will add another 332 sworn staff and 90 non-sworn to reach our target by the end of June next year,” she said.

Phil Goff said that the major new Corrections initiatives in Budget 2008 are to replace Mt Eden Prison in Auckland and the recruitment of an additional 89 Probation Officers, plus infrastructure support.

“Over the next four years, capital expenditure of $216.3 million and operating expenditure of $35.6 million is planned for the replacement of the antiquated Mt Eden Prison. Of that, Budget 2008 provides $110.3 million in capital funding between 2009/10 and 2011/12 and $13.6 million in operating funding over four years. Corrections will contribute the remaining $106 million capital and $22 million operating from its own funds. The new prison will provide enhanced security and allow the Department to better carry out rehabilitation programmes to reduce re-offending.

“Operating funding of $67.9 million and capital funding of $23.8 million will enable Corrections to recruit 89 additional Probation Officers and provide suitable infrastructure support. This boost in numbers reflects increasing numbers of community sentences,” Phil Goff said.

Rick Barker said the efficient functioning of the court system is fundamental to safe and timely access to justice for victims as well as those charged with crimes.

"Much of the pressure on Courts occurs in Auckland. Approximately 30 per cent of all District Court jury trials nationwide are at either Manukau or Auckland District Courts. I commend the hard work and innovative approach by staff across all courts in the Auckland region to make the system more streamlined and efficient. I am pleased this budget sets aside $6.3 million over two years to fund a Greater Auckland Region Service Delivery Strategy. I am confident this investment will lay the groundwork for improving Court capacity and resources in our largest city.”

In other initiatives in Budget 2008, the ministers announced:
• An extra $4.7 million in operating funding over four years to meet the future requirements of the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
• $5.8 million in operating funding over four years to establish a Sentencing Council which will produce inaugural Sentencing and Parole Guidelines in 2008/09.
• $6 million in operating funding and $4 million in capital over four years to provide enhanced security infrastructure to maintain the integrity and credibility of Police data.
• $11.2 million in operating funding in 2008/09 for legal aid remuneration, with an accompanying review of innovative ways of developing the legal aid system.


ENDS

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