41% of offenders not completing Te Pae Oranga

Labour’s Te Pae Oranga programme is failing to hold offenders to account with 59% of people being sent to the alternative justice panels failing to complete the programme, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“Alternative resolutions have a place for low level offending, however the Government also needs to ensure people who are referred to these services are completing the requirements of the programme and not getting away with a light touch.

“By comparison, people given a community based sentence has a completion rate of 75 per cent.

“When questioned today about the abysmal statistic, Police Minister Poto Williams argued that ‘it’s about relationships more than anything else’ and ‘the ability of victims to be part of the process.’ I question how this can take place if the offender does not show up and complete the programme.

“The Minister also struggled to find words to justify the fact that offenders who assault police officers are being referred to Te Pae Oranga meaning that their victims – police officers – have to attend restorative justice style mediations with them.

“The Police Commissioner Andrew Coster attempted to reassure me by explaining that not all offenders who assault police officers are sent to Te Pae Oranga, just the ones at the ‘lowest end’. Assaulting a Police Officer is never a ‘low-end’ offence. It is unacceptable that these cases are being referred for alternative justice.

“The Government appears to be more focused on reducing the prison population – than holding offenders to account.”