Criminal Justice Summit

Challenge 2000 is playing a part in the Government’s review of New Zealand’s criminal justice system.

Staff members Tina Wilkins, Damian Dempsey and Heath Hutton attended the Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata summit held 20th-22nd August in Wellington. Politicians, academics, activists, and dozens of frontline workers discussed various issues pertaining to the complex task of trying to make New Zealand a safer and more just society for all its citizens.

Recurring themes throughout the summit included:

  • The challenges involved in ensuring the well-being of children e.g. domestic violence; drugs and alcohol
  • The relative success of our youth justice system vs. the abject failure of our adult system
  • The tragedy of health issues (e.g. mental health; addiction) becoming criminal issues
  • The enduring legacy of colonialisation

It was heartening to hear an experienced District Court advocate for more community-based sentencing options, the likes of which we here at Challenge 2000 have been offering with pleasing results.

There was also a strong call for the development of a strategy by Māori, for Māori. Several speakers noted that devolution of resources to hapū and iwi is badly needed if we are to create a criminal justice system that is both fairer and more effective.

For those interested, there are a number of resources – mostly articles and published research – on the website