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

Whakaari / White Island Eruption: Body recovery operation

The NZ Defence Force recovered the bodies of six people who tragically died in Monday’s eruption on Whakaari/White Island and will support efforts to recover the bodies of two others in the hope there is resolution for those families. .. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Welfare Vs Infrastructure Spending

If New Zealand has a pressing need to stimulate its flagging economy, it seems very weird that the government is choosing a $12 billion package of infrastructure spending – mainly on road and rail – that by definition, will take a very long time to deliver their stimulatory benefits ... More>>

New Reports: "Immediate Commitment To Doing Justice Differently"

Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform from the Chief Victims Advisor. Both recommend a fresh approach to the way criminal justice has been approached... More>>


"Heart-Breaking And Confronting": Surgical Mesh Restorative Justice Report

Minister Genter: “People have talked about losing the life they had enjoyed before surgical mesh harmed them – the loss of a steady job, the ability to exercise, a loving relationship in some cases. Others described the chronic pain they experienced..." More>>


Law Foundation: Government Decryption Powers Must Respect Privacy

The power of government to order users and companies to decrypt encrypted data and devices needs stronger privacy protections and additional safeguards, according to a study published by researchers at the University of Waikato. More>>

Latest 'Discussion Doc': National On Healthcare

National has today released our eighth Discussion Document which focusses on health and outlines a range of policies which will enable more Kiwis to access high-quality healthcare, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says. More>>


Select Committee Report: Combatting Foreign Election Interference

MPs have finally delivered their recommendations to combat foreign interference in elections in a long awaited and much delayed report. More>>

Mosque Attacks: Names Of Arresting Officers Released

Police are now in the position to name the two officers involved in the arrest of the alleged gunman responsible for the attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques on March 15. More>>

Big, Bold, Permanent Change Needed: Children's Commissioner On 2019 Child Poverty Monitor

“I want to see family incomes dramatically raised by increasing benefits and making the minimum wage a living wage. And the Government needs to move much faster at increasing the supply of social housing..." More>>






InfoPages News Channels