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Budget gives $950 million boost for justice


Budget gives $950 million boost for justice

Budget 2009 provides more than $950 million over the next four years for significant initiatives across the justice sector.

“The Government’s first priority was public safety and cracking down on violent crime,” Justice Minister Simon Power says.

“Budget 2009 also takes some first steps in addressing funding gaps that have widened in recent years, leaving agencies across the justice sector without the capacity to meet steadily increasing workloads.”

The Budget funding over the next four years includes $700.7 million in operating funding and $255.7 million in capital funding.

This will pay for initiatives to combat violent crime, protect the public, and address widening funding gaps. These initiatives include:

  • $182.5 million for more police ($162.5 million operating, $20 million capital).
  • $10 million for Tasers ($9.5 million operating, $500,000 capital).
  • $61.3 million to increase criminal courts capacity in Auckland ($55.3 million operating, $6 million capital).
  • $9.8 million to boost court security ($9 million operating, $800,000 capital).
  • $16.3 million to improve fines collection ($13.1 million operating, $3.2 million capital).
  • $385.4 million to increase prison capacity through double bunking at five prisons and plans for further additional capacity ($218.6 million operating, $166.8 million capital).
  • $152.9 million for more community probation and psychological services capacity to manage more offenders ($133.8 million operating, $19.1 million capital).
  • $103 million to improve the quality of parole and home detention management ($71.2 million operating, $31.8 million capital).
  • $2.3 million to introduce offender levy for victims ($1 million operating, $1.3 million capital).
  • $600,000 in additional funding for the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

    In addition, there is $17.1 million in operating funding in 2009/10 to maintain access to justice services through community law centres and legal aid.
    Mr Power says the most urgent needs in the sector have been addressed.

    “This Budget will certainly help improve the sector’s response to criminal offending, although that is not the government’s ultimate objective.

    “Too many governments have focused on the prison van at the bottom of the cliff. It's time to address the underlying drivers of crime, rather than just the criminal justice system's response to it.

    “We took the first steps towards this new approach with the Drivers of Crime Ministerial Meeting held in April.

    "The benefits of that approach may be long term, but they will be significant, resulting in less crime, safer communities, and fewer victims," Mr Power says.

    ENDS

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