Budget 2017 invests $81.8 million of new operating funding over four years to help manage offenders serving sentences in the community and to improve prisoner rehabilitation, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.
$51.6 million in funding will enable Community Corrections to increase its resources to manage the growing number and complexity of community-based offenders, and support the Parole Board and the judiciary to make informed risk-based sentences and decisions.
“Probation officers use higher intensity forms of managing offenders, such as Extended Supervision Orders and complex parole conditions. As well, many offenders have mental health and substance dependency issues. We are also managing a higher prison population and we need to be prepared and have the resources to manage these people when they are released,” Ms Upston says.
Budget 2017 will also invest $30.2 million of new operating funding over four years to improve services and opportunities for prisoners in the areas of mental health, industry, treatment and learning.
“We are committed to reducing reoffending through interventions in prison aimed at addressing the drivers of crime, drug and alcohol abuse and violence. This includes effective industry, treatment and learning interventions. We want prisoners in Corrections’ care to be better equipped for life in the community when they come out,” Ms Upston says.
“Corrections will expand and enhance four of its most effective intervention groups – education, alcohol and drug treatment services, intensive rehabilitation treatment for offenders with a history of violent offending, and reintegration support for offenders when they leave prison.”
Budget 2017 invests $1.24 billion of new operating funding over four years and $785.6 million of capital funding in law and order initiatives to help make our communities safer, Police Minister Paula Bennett, Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams, and Corrections Minister Louise Upston say.
“The extra investment in Budget 2017 includes the $503.8 million Safer Communities Package which was announced earlier this year and will deliver an additional 1,125 police staff,” Mrs Bennett says.
“Budget 2017 provides an additional $1.52 billion to enable the justice sector to improve services and further reduce the impact on crime on New Zealanders,” Ms Adams says.
“This funding underpins the Government’s focus on preventing crime, reducing reoffending and better supporting victims. It includes $145.8 million of operating funding over four years and $20.2 million in 2016/17 to enable Justice and Courts to provide an enhanced level of service to deliver better outcomes for our growing population.”
“To support Corrections to deliver its core services and reduce reoffending, Budget 2017 will set aside $255.9 million of operating funding over four years and $763.3 million in capital funding for more prison capacity. While we’re focused on reducing offending, we also want to ensure we have enough prison beds to keep the worst offenders off our streets,” Ms Upston says.
“We’ll also upgrade infrastructure to enhance the safety of staff, prisoners, and the public.”
Other key initiatives include:$32.9 million over the next four years for burglary prevention. $13.9 million over the next four years to reduce reoffending, targeted at high risk young offenders. $40.2 million over the next four years and $2.1 million capital for investment in anti-money laundering initiatives. $11.9 million over the next two years for additional security personnel across New Zealand’s court system. $5.5 million over the next two years to continue the Iwi/Community Panels pilot. $51.6 million over the next four years to better manage offenders serving sentences and orders in the community, and to support the judiciary and Parole Board to make informed risk-based sentencing and parole decisions. $30.2 million over the next four years to improve the way prisoners at risk of self-harm and suicide are managed in prison, and to increase access to industry, treatment and learning interventions. $1.4 million of operating funding over the next four years and $840,000 capital to provide the Serious Fraud Office with an integrated case and evidence management system to enable better analysis and management of complex evidence and data.
“Budget 2017 continues to invest in services that will enhance our criminal justice system and reflects the Government’s ongoing commitment to keeping New Zealanders safe,” Mrs Bennett says.
New laws will allow Police and Corrections to better ensure offenders in the community or defendants on bail are adhering to conditions not to consume alcohol or drugs, say Police Minister Paula Bennett and Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
“Harmful alcohol and drug use is a serious health issue and a major driver of crime. About half of crime is committed by people under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Mrs Bennett says.
“This new legislation allows Police and Corrections to monitor and test offenders and people on bail with conditions imposed by judges or the Parole Board not to consume alcohol or drugs. It allows staff to target those with the highest risk of causing alcohol-related harm with more intensive testing and monitoring.”
“The main form of testing will be urine testing, and Police will use existing breath-alcohol testing technology throughout the country,” Mrs Bennett says.
Some high-risk offenders and people on bail will be fitted with alcohol detection anklets as part of their monitoring. These anklets detect alcohol in sweat and provide evidence if they have consumed alcohol against their abstinence conditions.
Corrections and Police are trialling the technology with about 50 anklets for two years in the Northern Region before it is rolled out more widely.
“The law empowers staff to get evidence about drug or alcohol consumption. Staff can then take action, encouraging offenders who have stayed sober or giving further treatment or sanctions to offenders who have breached their conditions,” Ms Upston says.
“The aim is to reduce drug and alcohol-related harm in our communities by enabling Corrections and Police to better manage offenders in the community and defendants on bail. Negative tests can provide evidence of sobriety to employers and help offenders get a job.”
“The anklets are one more tool that can be considered when offenders and bailees with the highest risk of causing alcohol-related harm are in the community. Not everyone with an abstinence condition will be suitable for the trial,” Ms Upston says.
As part of an $8.6 million package from the Justice Sector fund last year, Corrections is also providing extra support to offenders with alcohol and drug needs.
Initiatives include:A 24/7 alcohol and drug support phone line for offenders/prisoners which will be staffed by experienced registered alcohol and drug practitioners. The ‘RecoveRing’ support line goes live on 24 May 2017 16 new alcohol and drug aftercare workers have been employed in prisons across the country since July last year 13 additional residential beds in treatment facilities for offenders with significant alcohol and drug needs (available until June 2018).
“Harmful alcohol and drug use is a major factor contributing to crime in our communities. Providing extra support to offenders who are struggling with addictions is a step towards helping them make a positive change to their lives,” Ms Upston says
Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston has welcomed the opening of the next round of funding for erosion control in the Gisborne region.
The Ministry of Primary Industries’ Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP) helps eligible land owners in the region contain erosion and improve susceptible land.
Improvements were recently made to the programme, including providing upfront funding to reduce the financial burden for land owners and extending the land categories eligible for treatment.
“We hope that these changes will enable more land owners to take up the funding opportunity,” says Ms Upston.
“Severe erosion causes long-term damage to the productivity of rural land. It threatens communities and rural businesses and damages infrastructure.”
The ECFP was established in 1992 and MPI works closely with Gisborne District Council and Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou to deliver the programme.
Last year 37 applications totalling $2.39 million covering 1438ha were approved.
The latest funding round is open from today until 30 June 2017.
Community groups, iwi and other organisations are also now able to apply for funding for projects to reduce erosion in the region. Access to this project funding is available year round and more information on eligibility and the application process will be available early next month.
For more information go to www.mpi.govt.nz/ecfp
Support service roles are helping to increase employment opportunities in primary sector industries, a new report shows.
Overall, employment in primary sector industries increased by 5400 between 2012 and 2014, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) report Human Capabilities in the Primary Industries.
“The majority of these new jobs were support service roles, which includes scientists, accountants, engineers and agricultural technicians,” Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston says.
“These new roles are being driven by factors such as more sophisticated technologies, growing Asian markets and areas such as food safety, biosecurity and animal welfare.”
The report provides an overview of employment and qualification trends in the primary industry sector between 2002 and 2014.
“This analysis and previous forecasting suggest the trends identified in this report will continue to shape employment needs into the future,” Ms Upston says.
“The expansion of the horticulture and dairy sectors will continue to have an effect, as well as businesses adding value to our primary production. This increasing sophistication and the greater need for professional support will create many new specialist roles. The Government is working with the primary industry on a number of initiatives to build capability across the sector so that we can meet current and future needs.”
The Human Capabilities in the Primary Industries report can be found here:
Learners and employers are demanding more flexible learning and a combination of technical and life skills knowledge, according to feedback to the Tertiary Education Commission.
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has been travelling the country holding workshops to gain feedback from stakeholders on the future of career information ahead of the transition of Careers New Zealand to the TEC in July.
“Feedback provided to TEC at the workshops found learners and employers are expecting access to seamless, tailored education services that are digitally connected and responsive to fast-changing skills needs,” says Louise Upston, Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.
“In our increasingly digital world, that means learners and employers are demanding more flexible delivery as traditional tertiary education models are being placed under ever greater pressure.
“To help Kiwi workers keep pace with technological advances, the workshops also heard it will be vital for learners to get the right balance of hard skills such as qualifications and training, and soft skills like resilience, learning new skills quickly and self-management,” says Ms Upston.
“Even though we can’t predict with accuracy what New Zealand’s skills requirement will be 10 years from now, the findings from these workshops will help ensure we make the best investments to support New Zealanders navigate the continually changing labour market of the future.
“The Government is committed to ensuring people have the right skills for work and helping businesses grow and prosper. That’s why we have set a target of 50,000 in work-based training by 2020 and we are well on our way to achieving it,” Ms Upston says.
The workshops involved employers, iwi, young people, regional economic development representatives and private career service organisations across the country.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston will tomorrow host the second in a series of employer breakfasts in Canterbury to outline how they can help change the lives of offenders, their families and their communities.
Ms Upston and Corrections will showcase the work being done by the department to provide better outcomes for offenders, including helping them into regular paid employment. The first breakfast held in Hamilton last month attracted many employers keen to hire motivated and skilled workers.
Corrections signed up its 100th employer last month but more are needed to provide men and women steady work and a regular income when they leave prison.
“Some prisoners have never held down a job, yet we know that people who find stable employment on leaving prison are less likely to end up back in the justice system. Having a job is crucial to reducing reoffending,” Ms Upston says.
“Corrections provides prisoners with opportunities including education, skills and work training. We know there is a skills shortage and some employers are struggling to find skilled and motivated workers, so this is a win-win for all involved.”
Corrections has seen around 9000 offenders involved in employment-related activities last year and more than 4600 achieving qualifications, a 25 per cent increase on the year before.
Corrections employs full-time education tutors who support 4769 prisoners and deliver education and employment training programmes including horticulture, manufacturing, construction, painting and hospitality.
Corrections also has initiatives aimed at supporting employers to take on offenders. The Employment Support Service provides job placement and up to six months in-work support to help former prisoners get and keep their jobs. Offender recruitment consultants work with offenders and employers around the country.
“Corrections does the work to find the right person for the job, and employers gain a skilled employee,” Ms Upston says.
Further employer breakfasts are planned in other urban centres around the country.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston today acknowledged the nearly 250 nurses, team leaders and health centre managers who deliver primary health services to prisoners behind the wire every day.
Each year International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May - the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. It recognises the contribution made by nurses around the world.
New Zealand Corrections nurses carry out more than 100,000 consultations with prisoners every year.
“It is important that we acknowledge the work of Corrections nurses to improve prisoners’ wellbeing,” says Ms Upston.
“Prison nurses have complex workloads and work in a unique and challenging environment that is quite different from the world outside the wire.”
Corrections nurses have a significant impact on the lives of prisoners. The healthcare provided by prison nurses helps them better engage in education, rehabilitation programmes, and employment opportunities and ultimately reduces their risk of reoffending.
“Their patients typically have higher health and mental health needs than the rest of the community, and these nurses are often the first healthcare professionals that prisoners have seen in some time,” Ms Upston says.
The theme of International Nurses Day this year is Nurses: A Voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Louise Upston has welcomed the passing of the Education (Update) Amendment Bill today.
The Education Act has been updated to streamline the way government careers services and information are provided. As a result of a Government review of the careers system, Careers New Zealand is being disestablished and staff and functions will transfer to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) on 1 July 2017.
“This is a positive step towards an improved careers system that will strengthen connections between education and employers, reduce fragmentation and duplication across government agencies and make pathways into further study and work clearer,” Ms Upston says.
“A refocused careers service within the TEC will make use of the commission’s ability to work with tertiary providers and employers so they co-ordinate with schools on the skill needs of the labour market.
“Students and their families can expect to have access to better and more consistent careers services and information as well as a continually expanding and improving suite of online tools,” Ms Upston says.
Employers will benefit from stronger connections with schools and tertiary providers and a more direct link to the skills pipeline, and careers education that links teaching and learning to the application of skills, knowledge and competencies in the labour market.
Associate Minister of Education Louise Upston has today officially opened Rangiora High School’s new $14.9 million facilities.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the redevelopment of Rangiora High School to support the delivery of innovative teaching and meet the future needs of its community,” Ms Upston says.
Rangiora High School experienced growth for several years prior to a sudden increase in student numbers associated with the Christchurch earthquakes. It also had a large number of relocatable classrooms that were reaching the end of their lifespan.
This project provides the school 26 new innovative teaching spaces that replace ageing facilities and extend the school’s overall capacity.
“A priority for this Government is investing in a targeted way to deliver the types of environments that support young people to learn and achieve,” Ms Upston says.
“A key focus in recent years has been addressing complex property issues for schools in areas of growth. To get the best return on our investment we have used a programme of major redevelopments to help schools address highly complex property issues, modernise aging infrastructure, and extend accommodation in line with projected growth.
“This approach delivers cost efficiencies, reduces disruptions to school activities, and considers the long-term needs of the school,” Ms Upston says.