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Justice Sector Ministers a Formidable Combination

Justice Sector Ministers a Formidable Combination

Date : 7th October 2014

‘The three core Justice Sector Ministers have the potential to take the Justice Sector into a whole new era of change, “says Kim Workman, spokesperson for Rethinking Crime and Punishment. It’s the sort of front row that Graeme Henry dreams about.”

Amy Adams, (Justice) Peseta Sam Lotu-Liga (Corrections) and Michael Woodhouse (Police), have a lot in common. All three have formidable academic qualifications in law or business, all are experienced business managers, and all three have been actively involved in community and voluntary work of some kind or another. What is also refreshing is that this trio are not driven by personal ideology, and the focus will be on developing a more effective criminal justice sector.

Peseta Sam is an extraordinary person in that he combines the position of traditional ariki, with degrees in business and law from Oxford. At the same time, he is actively involved in a number of Trusts which target marginalised and poverty stricken families and runs marathons on the side. Michael Woodhouse, has a Master’s degree in Health Administration, and degrees in commerce and accounting. He’s a rugby nut, as is Peseta Sam. Amy has a reputation as a level headed and pragmatic operator; she and was a partner in a law firm, and is heavily involved in farming business and rural community work.
What is exciting about this combination, is the potential it brings to the justice sector to closely examine and challenge some of the underlying assumptions that have hindered progress in recent years. This includes the effectiveness of some legislation, and programmes operating within the three agencies.

There are three key areas which spring to mind. First, there needs to be a cost-benefit analysis applied to programmes run within all three agencies. For example, Extended Supervision Orders for released sex offenders was introduced in 2006 – there are now over 250 released offenders on the programme, and cost benefit analysis overseas shows that for every $9 invested, this approach gives a return of $1. There are more effective ways of working with released sex offenders, which are unfunded. The second area, is the current risk management regime within Corrections, where increasingly risk prevention measures are introduced into areas where there is little or no risk identified.

Finally, all three Justice Sector Ministers appreciate the role that civil society have in reducing crime and social harm. Peseta Sam in particular has an in-depth understanding of the potential that fanau and community bring in transforming lives. While the Police have been very pro-active in developing strong relationships with civil society – there is plenty of room to promote wider community engagement across the sector.

The final advantage, is that the Hon Anne Tolley, former Minster of Policer and Corrections, is now the Minister of Social Development. She will link closely on matters such as youth offending – and her experience and popularity in the justice sector, will add another layer of expertise.


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