[Sitting date: 22 May 2012. Volume:680;Page:2223. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
JACQUI DEAN (National—Waitaki) to the
Minister of Corrections: What recent announcements has she made about reducing reoffending?
Hon ANNE TOLLEY (Minister of Corrections)
: Yesterday the Associate Minister of Corrections and I announced that Budget 2012 will contribute to a 25 percent reduction in reoffending by 2017, and 18,500 fewer victims of crime every year from 2017. The moves are part of the Prime Minister’s expectations for a more efficient and results-driven Public Service. This new focus on reducing reoffending will result in 33,000 additional offenders receiving new and expanded drug and alcohol treatment in prisons and in the community—an increase of almost 500 percent. Alongside increased education, skills training, and employment programmes for prisoners, including remand prisoners, it will lead to safer communities.
Jacqui Dean: What specific investments is the Government making in Budget 2012 to reduce reoffending?
Hon ANNE TOLLEY: Reprioritised funding of $65 million in operating expenditure over the next 4 years will contribute to 7,855 additional prisoners and community offenders receiving new and expanded rehabilitation services, 2,950 additional prisoners in education and employment training, 41,000 community offenders receiving new rehabilitation support provided directly by probation officers,
and 6,000 prisoners and community-based offenders accessing new reintegration support programmes from iwi and community groups.
Jacqui Dean: How is the Government planning on increasing employment opportunities for prisoners upon release?
Hon ANNE TOLLEY: As part of our increased focus on reducing reoffending, we will be increasing the support provided to prisoners on release and working with employers, industry groups, and Work and Income to highlight and promote prison training. Some of this work is already under way, and a recent open day at Spring Hill Corrections Facility attracted huge interest, including a number of large employers like Fletcher Construction, Spotless, and Turners and Growers. Another key focus will be targeting training in areas where there are likely to be skills gaps. In fact, we have started this in Christchurch already, with extra trades training so that prisoners can help fill the demand for labour as we rebuild Christchurch. And the 90-day trial for workers is also important in helping prisoners find work, so that industry can take a chance on a released prisoner.
Te Ururoa Flavell: Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Kia ora tātou. Does the Minister agree with Kim Workman of Rethinking Crime and Punishment that the recent Budget 2012 changes announced by the Minister and the Associate Minister of Corrections, the Hon Dr Pita Sharples, are “highly ambitious, and represents a major shift in the way Corrections has conducted its business over the last two decades.”, and how will the changes help cut the reoffending rate of Māori?
Hon ANNE TOLLEY: Yes, I am. And I am confident that with the support of our coalition partners and the Associate Minister with the Māori Party, these new initiatives will make a significant difference for Māori. In fact, the drug treatment programme that is currently offered, which we are looking to expand, has been most effective with our Māori offenders. So I thank the Associate Minister for his support.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I know it is a breach of the Standing Orders to draw the attention of the House to the fact that Ministers are reading speeches—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member cannot do that. No, no. The member should not do that, and he knows he should not do that.