Crown-Maori efforts to reduce reoffending

Police Minister Stuart Nash has launched the next step in a restorative justice programme that brings together Police, Justice sector agencies, community workers and Maori leaders to reduce reoffending and address causes of crime.

“Community Panels began as a pilot scheme in Christchurch in 2010 and were subsequently extended to become Iwi Community panels in three new areas. Over the past 6 months, they have been further extended and now operate in Gisborne, Hutt Valley, Manukau, Hamilton, Rotorua, Auckland City and Invercargill and are having positive impacts,” Mr Nash says.

“The Crown, community and iwi leaders such as Norm Dewes, Dr Kara Puketapu and particularly Kingi Tūheitia believe this initiative has a permanent part to play in efforts to reduce reoffending and encourage restorative justice.

“The panels have now been gifted the name Te Pae Oranga, which signifies resolution and facilitation, and the importance of supporting the well-being of the individual, their whanau as well as that of the victims. The new name symbolises a permanence for this Crown-Maori justice initiative. I expect to see Te Pae Oranga rolled out to more areas in the near future. 

Mr Nash and Kingi Tūheitia have tonight unveiled a carved pou to symbolise the combined efforts of those who work together on the Iwi Community panels.

“We have had some real successes with these panels, which hold people to account for their offending, work together to repair the damage caused and support the individual in making better decisions for an improved future. They are having a significant and positive impact on our communities and the lives of both offenders and victims.

“We want better long term outcomes for those who come to the attention of the justice system for relatively minor crimes, and also for the victims of this offending. Police can direct people who have committed low-level offences to a supportive environment where they are made accountable for the offending and can be connected with the services and support that address the underlying causes.

“If we want to truly address crime levels in New Zealand, we need to look at what else is happening in these people’s lives. The iwi panels also create direct savings to the government by reducing the number of cases going through the Courts, the amount of time Police spend dealing with low-level reoffending and the number of days people are held in prison, Mr Nash says.