Te Uepū report – Transforming our Criminal Justice System

Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora – the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group – has released a report after consultation around the country.

The overwhelming message from New Zealanders is that regardless of how they come into contact with the justice system, it is failing them and their families and there is a need for transformative and sustained change, according to a new report released today.

The report from Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group, He Waka Roimata (A Vessel of Tears), provides valuable insights into public attitudes and ideas about New Zealand’s justice system, says Te Uepū’s Chair Chester Borrows.

“Our advisory group was set up by the Justice Minister to conduct an honest and constructive conversation with New Zealanders on how we can deliver safer and more effective justice,” says Chester Borrows.

“We listened to thousands of New Zealanders from all over the country at our public events, through our website and social media, and at events we attended. We heard from interested members of the public, as well as those who have been victimised, prosecuted for offending or who offer services to communities that have been affected.

“The overwhelming impression we got from people who have experienced the criminal justice system is one of grief. Far too many New Zealanders feel the system has not dealt with them fairly, compassionately or with respect – and in many cases has caused more harm.

“We heard that the current system simply isn’t delivering effective justice, and a 60 per cent reoffending rate within two years of a person leaving prison is some evidence of its ineffectiveness.

“We’re hearing that many victims are left with a sense that justice has not been done. People are feeling let down at their most vulnerable time.

“And for Māori the legacy of colonisation comes in many forms, many of them with tragic consequences, as is the case in all colonised countries where indigenous peoples are over-represented in prison. This legacy is a gross unfairness and something we should not tolerate in New Zealand.

“There is widespread recognition that at every point in their lives, and over generations, Māori experience disadvantage that increases the risk they will come into contact with the criminal justice system.

“We’re convinced from what we’ve heard that solutions already exist and that people from all sectors of society want to be actively engaged in building a justice system that all people can be collectively proud of.

“We’re now developing a response to the themes and ideas raised by the public, which we will provide later this year,” says Chester Borrows.

Te Uepū’s report complements ongoing work by the Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata: Safe and Effective Justice Programme and the recent Victims Issues Workshop and Hui Māori: Ināia Tonu Nei Safe and Effective Justice forum.

Read the full report

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th June 2019

    Skimmed a fair bit of it. It’s not really about a better justice system, it’s about getting things it can’t deal with out of the justice system. They are two different worlds. The gangs have taken over the prisons so the justice system just transfers people between and into gang territories.

  2. NOEL

     /  9th June 2019

    Lot of pie charts similar to Corrections, plenty of what we know are the problems at present but transforming…..nah I wait until the victims are given precedence over the perpetrator.Yeah Right.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  9th June 2019

      Identifying the problems is much easier than the solutions and implementing the latter will be still harder. So this report is just first base. Increased funding for mental health is a good start. Spending money is the easy part for a Labour Government though. The test will be whether they can roll back the regulatory web that shackles so many communities now. I doubt it, so unemployment and poverty will persist with all that entails.

  3. Te Paea Turner Maniapoto/Te Arawa

     /  10th June 2019

    Jacinda Adern has The Mana for all of us in New Zealand through her already honourable actions. She like a real mum is cleaning up the mess and cleaning up effectively for future generations. Our whanau in Pike River, our most vulnerable whanau throughout Aotearoa NZ, our Muslum whanau, all manuhiri whaanau, our whanau in government systems that as the Te Uepuu report has discovered has dated back to colonisation and punishment has been the principle theme.

    The reality is Pike River whanau, our Muslum whanau, our most vulnerable whanau, all manuhiri whaanau, and those trapped in the government initiatives since colonisation are all needing the clean up Jacinda Adern and her Mana toward well-being has provided since she took over. Her well-being Portfolio has permeated into all aspects of New Zealand society already. Her Term to Reign has not finished, but there is a delivery of genuine empowerment and love to her people.

    I also want to say her people by her side, the Working Group, Grant Robertson, Andrew Little, Kelvin Davis, Nanaia Mahuta, the coalition, and the very many others.

    They are admirable Knights to serve their Queen with such valour.

    For once in my sixty year old life I am empowered by the Prime Minister of Aotearoa New Zealand. I know now the real care my Pakeha, Maaori and French tiipuna gave me and mine. It is here now under the leadership of Jacinda Adern.

    E te Whaea e mihinunui maa ake, ake.
    E Huri.

  1. Andrew Little – New Zealanders want a better justice system | Your NZ
  2. Head of Safe and Effective Justice calls for cross-party consensus | Your NZ

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