Getting ex-offenders into jobs

Schemes to help young ex-offenders get driver’s licences and help inmates develop Mānuka and Kānuka products will be supported by the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced in Kerikeri today.

“The New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform will be able to expand its driver’s licence programme in targeted regions, including Northland, supported by $7.5 million from the PGF,” said Shane Jones.

“The future flow-on effects from the Howard League investment are huge. Many entry level jobs require a driver’s licence so getting one is essential to getting employment.

“The regions will have safer roads with fewer unlicensed drivers, a supply of young work-ready people, higher levels of employment and therefore more local spending. This programme also will help meet labour shortages in forestry, kiwifruit and pipfruit industries, construction and transport,” said Shane Jones.

“The Northland Region Corrections Facility and the Ngāti Rangi Ahu Whenua Trust will be funded by up to $70,000 from PGF and $23,000 from the Department of Corrections to undertake a feasibility study of the potential for producing Mānuka and Kānuka oil and other products,” said Kelvin Davis.

“Establishing an oil distillery, likely to be in Kaikohe, will provide training and long-term employment opportunities for the local community and inmates at the Northland Region Corrections Facility. I’m confident this will help reduce reoffending over time.

“This Government is pleased to support both projects as they have the potential to create real social and economic benefits in the local community while the oil project will also contribute to the Government’s One Billion Trees planting programme,” said Kelvin Davis.

 

Notes to editors:

The Howard League for Penal Reform is a registered charity that aims to reduce re-offending by educating prisoners and providing driver’s licence programmes for offenders.

The Howard League has successfully run the drivers licence programme in Hawke’s Bay, West Auckland and Whangarei. With this funding they can expand to the Far North, Whakatane, Opotiki, Hastings/Napier, Central Hawke’s Bay and West Coast.