Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Raising NZ'S Minimum Age Crucial to Criminal Justice Reform

Raising NZ'S Minimum Age Crucial to Criminal Justice Reform
National Coalition of Howard Leagues for Penal Reform

Tonight in Geneva the government will accept ten out of 11 recommendations on criminal justice made to it following the UN's Universal Periodic Review on 21 January.

These recommendations include:

* reduce prison overcrowding
* address discrimination in the justice system and increase rehabilitative support for Māori prisoners
* improve prisoner access to physical and mental health services
* raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility
* ensure prison conditions comply with international human rights standards
* raise awareness of relevant human rights standards through training programmes for those working in criminal justice areas.

Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility is the only recommendation that the government will not fully accepted.

"The issues of overcrowding, prison conditions, access to healthcare and discrimination go to the heart of the need for robust human rights in our prisons" said Christine McCarthy, spokesperson for the National Coalition of Howard Leagues for Penal Reform. "Not criminalising children is equally important. We know many people locked into the cycle of recidivism are the result of being children who were criminalised at a young age. The current government's kaupapa of kindness, compassion and well-being needs to be directed at this issue."

New Zealand's minimum age of criminal responsibility is:
(a) 10 years for murder and manslaughter
(b) 12 years for serious offences (i.e. punishable by a maxiumum of life or 14 years).
(c) 12 years if the child is a previous offender
(d) 14 years for other offending

(Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 s272(1); Crimes Act ss21, 22)

In January 2019, the UN's Committee for the Rights of the Child's draft revision of the General Comment 10 on children's rights in juvenile justice stated: "States parties are encouraged to increase their minimum age to at least 14 years of age. At the same time, the Committee commends Statesparties that have a higher minimum age, for instance 15 or 16 years of age."

The Howard League strongly supports raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR). NZ's MACR is out of line with international expectations as well as our own domestic ages for responsibility in other areas (e.g. marriage, voting etc.). A low age of responsibility does not reflect research in human development regarding decision-making and a child's understanding of consequences, nor children's maturity and skills to cope with situations which may impact on offending.

The Wellington Howard League currently has a petition to Parliament to raise the age to 16 years (https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_88249/petition-of-christine-mccarthy-for-wellington-howard-league).



© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Campbell on: the local body election result in Wellington

For obvious reasons, politics is more of a big deal in the capital city than anywhere else in the country. Even so, fewer than four in ten eligible voters bothered to vote in Saturday’s local body elections in Wellington (turnout 39.66%).

Even less was felt to be at stake this time around than in 2016, when 45% of the electorate voted Justin Lester into the mayoralty.

To put it mildly, the Lester-led Council failed to live up to expectations. Lester will be remembered mainly for the fact that somehow, he managed to lose this election. . More>>


Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

Regulation: Review Finds NZTA Road Safety Failings

The independent review, carried out by consultant agency MartinJenkins, lists at least 10 reasons for the failures including the agency being focused on customer service at the expense of its policing functions. More>>


Rod Carr: Climate Change Commission Chair-Designate Announced

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today announced the appointment of Dr Rod Carr as Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission. More>>


Compliance Complaints: 'Putting Right' Holidays Act Underpayment In Health

The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark. More>>


IPCA: Disasterous Police Pursuit, Excessive Use Of Dogs

At no stage did Police follow the correct procedure for the commencement of a pursuit... A Police dog handler used his dog to help with the arrest of two of the young people. One suffered injuries resulting in his hospitalisation, and the Authority found that the use of the dog was an excessive use of force. More>>


‘Hard Place To Be Happy’: Report On Youth Residential Care

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says the report, A Hard Place to be Happy, contains important challenges from children and young people, aged 9 to 17, about their experiences in care and protection residences. “I found this report extremely difficult to read, and I think most New Zealanders would too.” More>>

Africa And Middle East Refugees: 'Family Link' Restriction Removed

The founder of the Double the Quota campaign has applauded the coalition government for Friday’s announcement that a discriminatory policy would be removed. More>>





InfoPages News Channels