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"The Best Christmas present ever"

"The Best Christmas present ever"

MEDIA RELEASE: 12 August 2019

WELLINGTON HOWARD LEAGUE FOR PENAL REFORM

Today's release of Turuki Turuki will be welcome news for people in prison and all those working in the criminal justice system.  But its most important message is that all sides need to come together.  Turuki Turuki is a call for political consensus and for the bravery needed to create an Aotearoa justice system.  The colonial hand-me-down rags from Britain have never worked.  It's time we collectively addressed the harm caused by offending rather than creating more of it.

Turuki Turuki is a brave document.  It also calls for us to be brave and for our leaders to put aside the crude political football game of "tough on crime" sloganeering.  Enough is enough.  Turuki Turuki calls for all of us to act now and with integrity.  We support its statement that "If we do nothing, or settle for minor reforms that do not address the real issues, we will continue to be complicit in allowing some of the most vulnerable people in our society to bear sustained harm" (p. 7).

The report is important and supports needs in overlapping areas: Addiction, Mental Health, Poverty, Disadvantage, Racism.  These are issues needing compassion and restoration - not punitive responsives.  Too often we address them in New Zealand with incarceration.  Turuki Turuki knows this is too crude a response.  We need to be smarter and we need to care.

The Wellington Howard League congratulates the coalition government for releasing this report.  We also acknowledge the thinking done by the National Party in its recently released Law and Order discussion document.  There is overlap with some of the kaupapa in Turuki Turuki and we believe all parties want a criminal justice that creates a safe Aotearoa and to support people to be the best that they can be. We now ask all parties in Parliament to support Turuki Turuki's first recommendation and establish a cross-party parliamentary accord and use this as a baseline for criminal justice policy going into the 2020 election.  We need leadership in this area from all parties and we need a justice system which uplifts and improves our community. A cross-party announcement of the commitment to a shared kaupapa underpinning justice policy in the 2020 election would be a gesture worthy of our fine nation and the best Christmas present ever.

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