Politics has ‘derailed’ sensible debate on justice reform – Chester Borrows

Long Lunch 12/07/2018
Justice Minister Andrew Little and Chester Borrows.

The chair of a newly created criminal justice reform advisory group says politics has "derailed sensible debate" long enough.

Justice Minister Andrew Little announced this morning that former National MP Chester Borrows will chair the Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group, tasked with advising the government on reforming our criminal justice system.

Good policy should not come from one-off incidents.

Mr Borrows will be joined by: independent victims’ advocate Ruth Money, community lawyer Julia Whaipooti, Dr Warren Young, Professor Tony Ward, Professor Tracey McIntosh, Dr Carwyn Jones and Dr Jarrod Gilbert.

Mr Borrows told RadioLIVE’s Wendyl Nissen that he thinks that politics and media sensationalism has historically gotten in the way of justice reform.

Former National MP Chester Borrows.

"Politicians haven't been very good at educating the public on good policy in lots of areas and justice is just one of them.

"Good policy should not come from one-off incidents, it should not be 'significant event based'. It should be well reasoned and quite dispassionate."

While recidivism rates are extremely high in New Zealand, with 60 percent of inmates reoffending within two years, Mr Borrows stressed that overall crime rates are falling.

"We're going to have to keep saying it until we're blue in the face, people don't want to believe that it is going down.

"Politicians who are trying to get elected go off and press this 'tough on crime button' and try and suggest that everyone is at extreme risk."

According to New Zealand Police there has been an almost 4 percent decrease in crimes against people and property in the last 12 months.

The Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group are due to make their report in early 2019.

Listen to the full interview with Chester Borrows above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.

Newshub Nation/RadioLIVE.