Ms Ruth Wilkie1
1Ministry Of Justice, Wellington, New Zealand
Late 2017 saw the election of a new coalition government in New Zealand. The criminal justice system was described by the incoming Minister of Justice as being ‘broken’, particularly in relation to the over-representation of Māori and our over-reliance on imprisonment. The Ministry of Justice has been presented with the challenge of leading the response to this call to transform the criminal justice system. Criminal justice reform is a sphere that can be subject to highly politically charged interventions and direct conflicts between evidence, principle, and perceived public perceptions.
This paper outlines the strategic approach (Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata – Safe and Effective Justice) which is developing the capability, the evidence base and the approach to engaging with New Zealanders to build the case for change and support Ministers in their decisions. This paper will discuss the opportunities and challenges in clarifying the purpose of the criminal justice system in New Zealand society and the need to reduce the harm done by the system to many (if not most) of those who interact with it, particularly Māori and victims/survivors.
bio to come