Our key objectives for the justice system are:
- • That all law-abiding people should be able to live in peace and harmony, assured of community support and protection from those who commit criminal acts.
• We aim to reduce the number of people needing to use the court system.
• Those charged with a crime or those needing issues resolved in a court should be able to have their cases dealt with promptly.
• That the cost of accessing the court system, and assistance with using it, is kept affordable.
• Support for, and restitution to, victims of crime will be increased.
We don’t view justice as just a legal issue, but, along with law and order, as an economic, social, educational, and moral one.
Implementation of our economic policy would see higher educational and skills proficiency achieved by more people, greater income sufficiency and therefore large numbers of people lifted out of the poverty trap. This will deal with some of the major issues that lead to crime.
Some of the $4.6 billion annually that is wasted by government on paying interest on its borrowings from commercial banks, when it could fund that borrowing from its own central bank without interest, would pay for more resources for the justice system, including greater use of alternative disputes resolution options, and support for victims.
While we view access to decent representation in court as a right regardless of circumstances, our aim is to reduce the number of people needing legal aid. Our approach to that is covered briefly above. Meantime we would raise the income threshold for access to legal aid to $25,000 with corresponding increases to other levels. Fixed fees for lawyers undertaking legal aid work will be reviewed.
Alternative penalties through options like restorative justice will be promoted where possible, and long-term reform and rehabilitation of offenders, especially among juveniles, given a much higher priority. We view the rise in family violence as a reaction to a society under stress, especially financial stress. Our economic policy seeks to address some those problems. Legislation to improve the way family violence issues are dealt with in the justice system is imperative. The Sentencing Act 2002 should be amended to include a principle that victim safety, including the safety of any child, is a mandatory and primary consideration when the court is determining the appropriate sentence in family violence cases.
We will seek ways to improve the courts system and its processes, with an accelerated programme of implementing technology where possible. Privatisation of the prison system will be stopped and private prisons returned to public ownership and control. Police numbers will be boosted and Community Policing substantially extended. We would set up education programmes on things like citizenship, avoiding substance abuse, road safety and driver training, and crime prevention.
Hessel Van Wieren, Justice Spokesman
Email: email@example.com Mob 027 441 6089