Justice

Alliance Party Justice Policy

Preamble

  • The Alliance led the call for restorative justice processes in our criminal justice system. Due to our presence in Government, New Zealand now has the concept of restorative justice included in the relevant statutes. However, the needs of victims of criminal activity are still a major issue.

  • The safety and security of our communities and groups within our community is a concern, especially the presence of gang-related crime and the rising incidence of race-based attacks.

  • New Zealand has one of the highest incarceration rates in the developed world (second only to the US). Too many prisoners are Maori and poor.

  • Increasing numbers of people with mental health problems are treated as criminals.

  • Not everyone can access fair treatment from the justice system.

  • Drug use is a health and social problem. Personal use of relatively harmless drugs such as marijuana is currently treated as a criminal justice issue.

  • There is increasing unease at people in jail for offences they did not commit.

We stand for the following policies

  • Create safe and secure communities. The Alliance is convinced that full employment, fully accessible education and health care will reduce crime rates and lead to safer communities. At the same time the Alliance is committed to an adequately resourced police force that works positively with community groups to prevent problems occurring and provide speedy responses and solutions to crimes.

  • Compensate victims of crime. The Alliance will establish a Victim’s Compensation Board to oversee the administration of a dedicated fund providing assistance to victims in recovering from crime and to help decide on any further compensation required.

  • Legal equality: Ensure an accessible, equitable and effective justice system for all. The Alliance will upgrade the civil and legal system so that qualified legal assistance is accessible to ordinary citizens and community organisations.

  • Establish an Office of Unsafe Convictions: Due to an increasing unease at people in jail for offences they did not commit, the Alliance is committed to the establishment of an office for unsafe convictions.

  • Gangs: The Alliance will address gang-related crime by a combination of adequate police resources, constructive employment schemes and restorative justice to run alongside the present justice system.

  • Young people: The Alliance will ensure young people (under 18) will not be incarcerated with adults either on remand or when sentenced. Young people will be kept in an environment specially designed for their requirements with particular attention to the need to reduce youth suicide in prisons. The Alliance does not support private prisons.

  • Mental health and the justice system: The Alliance is committed to the implementation of the ‘Blueprint for Mental Health’ report so that New Zealanders who need help get it before they commit a crime and end up in the prison system.

  • Cannabis: The Alliance takes a harm minimisation approach to drug and alcohol abuse and as such supports the decriminalisation of cannabis. The Alliance supports a minimum age of 18 for the use of cannabis and alcohol. We believe that there should be more effective enforcement of such restrictions and a strong education campaign aimed at young people and their parents.