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


New Zealand Public Not as Punitive as Supposed

Embargoed until 6.0pm on Thursday, 26th October

New Zealand Public Not as Punitive as Supposed

“The New Zealand public may not be as punitive as supposed”, said Kim Workman, Project Manager, for the Rethinking Crime and Punishment project, speaking at the parliamentary launch of the project by the Minister of Justice, the Hon Mark Burton and Minister of Corrections, Hon Damien O’Connor.

Rethinking Crime and Punishment is a project aimed to increase and spread knowledge among the public about the most productive use of prison and the effectiveness of alternative punishments such as restorative justice and community penalties. It will also seek out fresh policy ideas about crime and punishment, and through structured debate, influence how the New Zealand public thinks about issues such as alternatives to prison, and community sentences.

“The common view is that most Kiwi’s want offenders punished, and a few want them rehabilitated,” said Mr Workman. “ In recent discussions with members of the public, we find it is not that simple. While almost all support the necessity of punishment, most agree that prisons do not rehabilitate. While most people like the idea of alternatives to prison, they do not really know what is currently available, and whether it works. They want more information about community sentencing, work schemes, restorative justice, and rehabilitation programs. “

“New Zealanders are in general agreement on four key ideas, regardless of where they sit on the conservative-liberal continuum. Firstly, there is general agreement that the public have a right to be protected from highly dangerous recidivist offenders. Secondly, there is a widely held view that the judicial system has ignored the rights and concerns of victims. Thirdly, they want offenders to be held accountable and responsible for their behaviour. Finally, we should make every effort to rehabilitate offenders. “

However, once you start to explore those issues with people, they are less certain about what they mean. Some of the people who want prisoners held accountable for their crime, also believe that prisoners should be ostracized, and that those who provide support for ex-prisoners are implicitly condoning their behaviour. The question then arises – how do you hold prisoner’s accountable if you don’t want to engage with them?” Again, while people want offenders punished, they agree that where an offender is mentally ill or drug dependent, prison is the last place that rehabilitation is likely to occur. At that point, people start to explore new ideas about how offenders can be more effectively dealt with.”

“Our vision is that the ‘Rethinking Crime and Punishment’ campaign will lead to a safer New Zealand where people who offend face their crime, but are also given the chance to rehabilitate and be restored as participating members of the wider New Zealand community”, said spokesperson Kim Workman.

The campaign has received wide support from churches, criminal justice professionals, and the community. A reference group has been formed to oversee the project, led by Sir Paul Reeves. Other members of the Group are:

Commissioner Garth McKenzie, Salvation Army
Judge Stan Thorburn, Deputy Chairperson, Prison Fellowship New Zealand
Michel Smith, Chief Executive Officer, CARITAS, (Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development)
Sam Chapman, Te Houhanga Rongo
Mel Smith, retired Ombudsman and former Deputy Secretary for Justice
Greg Fleming, Executive Director , Maxim Institute
Celia Lashlie, Social Commentator
Revd Dr Anthony Dancer, Anglican Social Justice Commissioner
Prof Warren Brookbanks, Auckland University
Glyn Carpenter, Vision Network NZ

Get more information at: www.rethinking.org.nz


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Fate Of Julian Assange

Has swapping Scott Morrison for Anthony Albanese made any discernible difference to Australia’s relations with the US, China, the Pacific and New Zealand? Not so far. For example: Albanese has asked for more time to “consider” his response to New Zealand’s long running complaints about the so called “501” deportations back to this country. Really? He needs more time to figure out a response? OK, but the clock is ticking.
The Julian Assange situation is a lot more urgent. Assange’s deportation to the United States has now been okayed by the British courts and also - crucially – by its government. At any moment, Assange could be on a plane and headed for a US prison. He is facing the prospect of 175 years in jail...


Parliament: Grounds Fully Reopened

Parliament’s grounds have been fully reopened today at a ceremony and community event with mana whenua, members of the public, and representatives of Parliament... More>>

Chris Hipkins: Statement On Charlotte Bellis

On 31 January I released a statement regarding Charlotte Bellis and her MIQ application. I stated that emergency allocation criteria includes a requirement to travel to New Zealand within the next 14 days... More>>

Government: Prime Minister To Travel To Europe And Australia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will leave this weekend to travel to Europe and Australia for a range of trade, tourism and foreign policy events... More>>


National: Goodfellow To Retire As Party President
Peter Goodfellow today announced he will not seek re-election as President of the National Party at its Annual Conference. Mr Goodfellow will remain as a director on the board for one final term to assist in the transition... More>>

Police: Parliament Occupation Investigators Seek Public Assistance
Police investigating criminal activity on the final day of the occupation at Parliament grounds earlier this year are appealing for the public’s help to identify 15 people... More>>

World Vision: New Zealand Urged To Meet Quota As New Report Finds Hunger, Violence, And Death Rates Increase For Refugees
World Vision is calling for New Zealand to work harder to meet its refugee quota in the wake of a new report which shows that life has deteriorated significantly in the past two years for refugees in 11 hard-hit countries... More>>