The Nation – mental health and the courts

On The Nation, following on from last week: Perpetrators or patients?

More than 90 percent of prison inmates have a diagnosis of mental health or substance abuse disorder – so is New Zealand doing enough to divert these people away from jail?

Mike Wesley-Smith investigates, in association with the Mental Health Foundation.

This morning:

In part 2 of ‘s investigation into mental health in the criminal justice system, he’ll look at the courts.

How experimental new courts could lead to lower re-offending rates for those suffering from mental illness.


Michelle Kidd gets up early every day to bring food to homeless people, she says some beg to go to prison for a good night’s sleep.

2700 people last year ended up getting a health appointment in a place of detention.

Sir Ron Young says sentencing people with mental health issues to prison is pointless.

The New Beginnings court has reduced reoffending rates by 66%, number of homeless reduced from 16 to 3 in 6 months.

That sounds impressive. It’s worth expanding.


Therapeutic courts

There are 3 therapeutic courts in New Zealand: 2 in Auckland and 1 in Wellington within the criminal District Court system.

Therapeutic courts aim to reduce reoffending, alcohol, drug use, and addiction. They try to help a person’s health and well-being so they can move on with their lives. If someone appears before a therapeutic court, they’re sentenced in the same way and the same laws apply as in other New Zealand courts.

You can’t choose to appear before a therapeutic court. You or your lawyer can ask a judge to go through the court but a judge may say you can’t. Therapeutic courts are for people who have committed less serious offending and who have admitted their guilt.  This court does not hear serious offences like sexual offences.

Alcohol & drug courts

The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts are at Waitakere District Court and Auckland District Court. They’re designed to supervise offenders whose offending is driven by their alcohol and other drug dependency.

New Beginnings & Special Circumstances court

The New Beginnings Court Te Kooti o Timatanga Hou is aimed at homeless people in Auckland. The Special Circumstances Court is aimed at homeless people in Wellington.

If you get accepted into one of these courts, you can get help to address issues in your life that contribute to your offending.

This is a voluntary court. People going through it can choose to withdraw and be returned to the normal court system at any time.

Part 3 of ‘s series will look at people with mental health issues in prison… tune in next week

The Nation – Parata on education

This morning on The Nation:

As Education Minister Hekia Parata steps down from the role, does she get a passing grade? Lisa Owen talks to her about National Standards, NCEA targets and school funding.

Will Parata leave satisified with what she has achieved? Yes.

But she will leave it up to parents to decide how well she has done.

Parata says expectations of students are rising across the education system, but there is more to do

Parata says the gap between Maori and non-Maori students is closing, but there’s still more to be done.

National Standards is bedding in and there has been incremental improvement says Parata.

The Nation: Is the rock star economy still rocking?

This weekend The Nation interviews Steven Joyce on the economy and the budget:

Is the rock star economy still rocking? Tomorrow we’ll talk to the newly-minted Finance Minister Steven Joyce ahead of next month’s Budget.

See also: Inflation up to 2.2%

Joyce says Auckland Council needs to look at how much it can spend on transport.

Expect to see the Govt’s expenditure on the CRL in the Budget, Joyce say.

Still a rock star economy? Joyce wouldn’t call it that but the new Zealand is still performing well, and better than most.

Joyce says he’s keen to see the tax system work more clearly for people. No decision yet on tax thresholds (for PAYE), everything is still “on the table” for the budget.

Mental health & criminal justice

Mental health has become a prominent issue. The Nation this week:

When you break a bone you go to hospital… so why do so many people with mental illness end up in prison instead of getting the treatment they need?

In association with the Mental Health Foundation, this week on the show we’ll feature the first part of Mike Wesley-Smith’s investigation into how the criminal justice system responds to people with mental health conditions.

The Nation – Maori and Mana parties

This morning on The Nation at 9:30 am (repeated Sunday morning 10:00 am):

When the Maori and Mana parties signed an agreement to work together in election year, it looked like their bad blood could be a thing of the past. But with their recent spat over the Ture Whenua or Maori Land Bill, cracks have already started to show… we’ll talk to Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

Fox says the strength of the Mana/Maori Party alliance is they can talk about their differences

“The Ture Whenua is a good bill.”

Harawira called the Ture Whenua bill a poisonous cancer. Is that irrational?

Fox: Yes.

She is a refreshingly no-nonsense politician.

She says there is no impasse over the bill, they have arranged to meet and talk it over.

‘A vote for Maori Party is a vote for National’ is “ridiculous”.

“”I think we punch above our weight”.

On Little saying the Maori Party was not kaupapa – after the 4% poll Fox says that senior Labour MPs sidled up and asked if they could consider supporting Maori (but I presume that wasn’t Little).

Newshub report: Hone Harawira is whanau – Marama Fox

Video:  Interview: Marama Fox

Transcript: Lisa Owen interviews Marama Fox

The Nation – Ministry for Vulnerable Children

The Nation this morning (9:30 am, repeated Sunday 10:00 am) – Oranga Tamariki:

Has the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children got what it takes to tackle child abuse in New Zealand, or is it just another in a long line of CYF re-brands? Tomorrow we’ll talk to the Ministry’s chief executive Grainne Moss about her goals, how she’ll measure success, and whether the Ministry has the resources it needs to succeed.

From RNZ: New children’s ministry to be under ‘constant restructure’

Child, Youth and Family (CYF) was folded into the new agency, which was launched in Wellington yesterday.

CYF has been under review almost continuously since its inception in 1989 and has been restructured 14 times.

Oranga Tamariki has nine deputy chief executives, which

Children’s Minister Anne Tolley said she questioned the new Ministry’s chief executive when she saw it had nine deputy executives.

She said she had been assured it was only to get the ministry up and running and that number would be reduced.

“I think there will be a constant restructure, you will see a great many changes over the next four to five years.

“We’ve lifted and shifted to start with.”

She said about 5000 children were in care at the moment, and almost 10,000 more were being worked with, so it was important to make sure that work could continue smoothly.

“We want to continue that work whilst we’re redesigning the way that we’re going to work in the future.”

More on this on The Nation no doubt.

Grainne Moss: It’s not just an overhaul, it’s a far reaching system change.

Targets will be set and published, and progress will be made public.

A move to prevention – rather than being an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff they will aim to remove the need for ambulances.

The important thing is that the right kids get the right interventions at the right time – that’s a big challenge.

Salary scale for social workers $45k-$77k, not a lot for what can be a highly stressful job with huge responsibilities. Would better remuneration help attract more and better social workers? Of course it would, but it comes down to budget and spending priorities.

A target of a thousand more carers – that will be difficult. But she says they recruited over 60 new carers in Auckland last month.

The kids keep saying they need love, care, security, a decent home.

What can they do about poverty? Help to get into work, access to health services.

Poverty is asked about again – the response is that above all also the kids want a loving environment. It’s hard to achieve that with money. Many poor families provide loving environments and don’t require social worker assistance.

Moss is “blown away” by the commitment to achieve better outcomes for children.

No longer a social welfare department to a social investment department – more preventative, less just reacting to problems.

Again: kids want a”safe, stable loving home” so that will be her “focus”.

Video of interview: Oranga Tamariki boss Grainne Moss

The Nation – trade

On The Nation (9.30 am Saturday, 10:00 am Sunday):

Patrick Gower talks to Todd McClay MP about what happens next for New Zealand trade now the TPPA’s been Trumped.

Yesterday the Government launched a trade policy onslaught:

PM launches ambitious trade agenda

Prime Minister Bill English has today launched New Zealand’s updated trade strategy, Trade Agenda 2030, and reiterated the Government’s commitment to free trade.

The Prime Minister has also announced the Government’s ambitious goal of having free trade agreements cover 90 per cent of New Zealand’s goods exports by 2030, up from 53 per cent today, as well as investing $91.3 million over four years through Budget 2017 to help achieve this.


McClay is doing a good job of talking knowledgeable and reasonably frank about the prospects of future trade agreements.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says Government still wants to do a trade deal with Russia, even if Vladimir Putin is in power.

Trade Minister Todd McClay on a plane to meet Trump administration “within the month”.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says Saudi Arabia/Gulf states free trade deal will be signed this year.



The Nation – Afghan raids inquiry campaign


On The Nation (9.30 am Saturday, 10:00 am Sunday):

…more on the allegations in Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s book Hit and Run. Should there be an inquiry? Lisa Owen talks to Deborah Manning.

Manning is one of the three lawyers who yesterday called for a Commission of Inquiry or a Royal Commission – see Afghan raids: Evidence of cover-up, lawyers say – and who say they would be representing the residents of the two villages that were hit.

So this is more of a continuation of a campaign (supported by some media) for an inquiry rather than a balanced investigation.

It’s not just about what happened on the night, Manning says, but the planning and what happened after…

Manning says that investigating the raids is stage . A separate issue for further down the track is the alleged cover up.


Do you know who might be held accountability? No.

They should have had both Edgeler and Manning on The Nation interview.

Manning says they will seek a judicial review in a New Zealand court if the Government refuses an inquiry

The Nation – housing, future governing, and overturning homosexual convictions

On The Nation this morning (from Twitter):

Tomorrow, the Great Generation Debate. Millennials say they’re being shut out of the Kiwi Dream of home ownership… but Boomers say the young ones just need to work harder. Ella Henry, Stephen Franks, Morgan Godfery and Jessica Palairet will debate.

I’m alarmed that The Nation is promoting Labour’s ‘Kiwi Dream’ slogan in introducing debate on housing.

Then we’ll hear from Victoria University of Wellington‘s Jonathan Boston about his new book on whether politicians need to start looking past the next election cycle and making policy for the future.

And from Twitter:

The Nation – Little, Morgan and water

On The Nation this morning:

Labour leader Andrew Little on how he’s going to pay for his election year promises, Superannuation, and housing.

And talks to about his new party and its TOP policies.

An interesting comparison – this week Gareth Morgan spoke in Dunedin – in the same venue and to a bit smaller crowd than Andrew Little last month.

See Morgan:  New party would ban fossil fuel subsidies

See Little: Labour’s Dunedin digital plan welcomed

Also covering clean water issues.

Gower starts by bragging “we set the agenda”.

Little says that he will cover the rising cost of Super by raising GDP above Treasury projections.

Little mentions people in physical workers – he is pushed on numbers and he avoids it, just saying it is “large”.

He says they are certainly not going to adopt Peter Dunne’s “mad policy”.

(Peter Dunne has responded “All this shows is Labour’s absolute abhorrence of giving people any individual choice over their retirement – one state to rule them all!”

He’s doing a Key and putting his leadership on the line over keeping the age at 65.

Sticking with Kiwibuild 100,000 houses built over ten years on top of existing increases in building.

Tax thresholds – “let’s have a look at it”.

The policy commitments Labour will make will be able to be funded out of current tax levels and surplus forecasts.

Dissing the Maori Party as “lap dogs of National” again.

Pushed on how far he demoted Nanaia Mahuta and he avoids that several times. So he is told 6 places.

Little was put on the spot a few times but has obviously been practicing his media management and is getting better at diverting and pushing his own points, although he sometimes fluffs around until he works out what to switch to.

“War for water major election issue check out Caitlin McGee’s yarn online” – not sure how much of an election issue water will turn out to be.

We are only up to March and currently have housing, Pike River, Super, immigration and now water as ‘major’ issues.

Gareth Morgan sounded positive at first but then seems to concede that he is an ideas person that wants National and Labour to take on his policies but doesn’t realistically doesn’t expect to get into Parliament and doesn’t really want to be in Parliament. That’s not going to win him votes.