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To: Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Minister of Police, Minister of Corrections

#CareNotCagesNZ: Transform our justice system - implement the recommendations of Turuki! Turuki!

To effectively tackle crime in Aotearoa, it is crucial to address its key drivers. This includes poverty and inequality, inadequate mental health support, poor educational outcomes, and other social issues. By doing so, we can ensure that everyone has access to the resources and services they need to thrive.

However, for many years, politicians have upheld a criminal justice system that primarily focuses on imprisoning people, disproportionately affecting working-class, Māori, and ethnic minority communities.

Turuki! Turuki!, the final report by Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora - The Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group, makes 12 recommendations to transform Aotearoa’s justice system. It envisions a community-led system that addresses the social causes of harm, helps to heal people who have been harmed, is grounded in principles of restorative and transformative justice, and honours Te Tiriti O Waitangi.

We are calling on the Government to implement all 12 recommendations of the Turuki! Turuki! report. The recommendations are:

1. Establish a cross-party parliamentary accord for transformative justice that ensures a long-term commitment to change, monitoring mechanisms, and a clear plan forward for incoming governments.
2. Establish a Mana Ōrite (equal power) governance model under which Māori and Crown agencies share in justice sector decision-making power and authority. Ensure that tikanga Māori and te ao Māori values are at the heart of the justice system.
3. Prioritise investment in community-led transformative justice. Transfer investment towards social spending to help communities respond to social issues.
4. Adopt a whole-of-government approach to justice, creating a common vision, values and coordination across agencies to meaningfully address the social drivers of crime.
5. Ensure victims have access to an independent advocate, therapeutic and financial support, and that their rights in criminal justice decision-making processes are strengthened.
6. Give communities greater resources and power to meet the needs of all those impacted by the justice system. Direct resources towards iwi, hapū, community-led, whānau and children-centred organisations to adequately provide all that is needed to restore the wellbeing of people in contact with the justice system.
7. Address poverty and social deprivation. Increase support for parents and whānau and challenge attitudes and behaviour around family violence.
8. Challenge racism in the justice system and society with diverse recruitment, effective training, school programmes, media campaigns and law reforms.
9. Address access to culturally informed trauma recovery and mental health services. Ensure mental health and drug use services and systems are equipped to assist people with trauma or other underlying factors impacting people’s mental health and quality of life.
10. Strengthen regulation of alcohol. Legalise and regulate personal use of cannabis and consider this for all drugs. Provide more funding for drug harm prevention, education and treatment. Change drug legislation to a health-based approach and build up resources and services for drug harm prevention.
11. Significantly increase investment in rehabilitation. Expand rehabilitation access for all prisoners, including those on remand and serving short sentences. Gradually replace most prisons with community-based habilitation centres. Strengthen wrap-around reintegration services. Provide people with the support they need when coming out of prison.
12. Redesign criminal investigations and court procedures to be consistent with transformative justice values and principles. This means ensuring everyone is treated with dignity, respect and compassion. Introduce interim reforms, including reviewing youth, specialist and therapeutic courts and apply improvements across the court system.

You can read the full Turuki! Turuki! report here:

Why is this important?

Everyone in Aotearoa deserves a justice system, which addresses the root causes of crime, holds people who have caused harm to account, and helps to heal people who have been harmed.

We know that children and young people from communities with high unemployment, low school achievement and a lack of other resources are more likely to be swept into our justice system and end up in prison. Too much of our justice system targets people who have grown up in poverty and under-resourcing. The result is a justice system that creates injustices, by discriminating against people based on how they grew up, their income, or what they look like.

This system is so ineffective that it is hurting all of us: victims, whānau, communities and the people who commit crime. It especially hurts Māori. The Police are more likely to arrest Māori than Pākeha for the same minor crimes. While more Pākeha are charged with violent crimes, dishonesty, property and traffic crimes, more Māori are convicted of these crimes.

The Government needs to build paths out of the maze of our justice system. These paths have already been proposed in the Turuki! Turuki! report.

The report reiterates and builds on decades of research into the criminal justice system that have repeatedly demonstrated that the system fails survivors, those who have caused harm and Māori. This research has been largely ignored by successive governments.

The Government has not yet implemented the 12 recommendations put forward by Turuki! Turuki!. Instead of providing these clear pathways out of the maze, the Government has largely continued with the same, failed tough on crime policies.

All these tough on crime policies are a dead end. They've been repeatedly tried in Aotearoa and have either failed outright or created more damaging outcomes.

It is time to consign tough on crime policies to the dustbin of history. We need a responsible approach to justice, using proven alternatives. We need a system that prioritises restoration, habilitation, transformation, prevention, rehabilitation, healing and honouring Te Tiriti.

We call on the New Zealand Government, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Police and the Minister of Corrections to take immediate steps to implement all 12 recommendations made by Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora - The Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group's Turuki! Turuki! report in 2019.

Further resources:

1. Turuki! Turuki! report:
2. He Waka Roimata report:
3. Ināia Tonu Nei report:




2023-10-16 21:38:23 +1300

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