A pilot isn’t a policy, says Barker

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

Labour supports the concept of a drug court, but is astonished that National has just announced it will simply run another pilot court in Auckland when a pilot has already been completed in Christchurch, says Labour’s Courts spokesperson Rick …A pilot isn’t a policy, says Barker
Labour supports the concept of a drug court, but is astonished that National has just announced it will simply run another pilot court in Auckland when a pilot has already been completed in Christchurch, says Labour’s Courts spokesperson Rick Barker.

“Announcing another pilot simply confirms that National has run out of ideas,” Rick Barker said. “Pilots are certainly not the same thing as actual policy.

“There has already been a drug court pilot run In Christchurch. This pilot has been assessed.

“National’s announcement this week of a new pilot in Auckland is big on rhetoric and fine talk, but what it doesn’t explain is why we actually need yet another pilot, and what is new and different about this pilot,” Rick Barker said.

“The announcement is a smokescreen to hide the Government’s lack of commitment to much-needed real policy change and reform in our courts system — reform that goes beyond improving the administration and efficiency of the court system.

“Currently courts predominantly address issues like guilt or innocence and sentencing, but they don’t address the causes or drivers of offending.

“It’s in this area that drug courts can potentially be so beneficial, and that was why Labour set up the youth drug court pilot in Christchurch in 2002,” Rick Barker said.

“If the drivers of offending are actually addressed, then therapeutic justice certainly has a place.

“This pilot lacks ambition and reach, however. While alcohol and drugs are significant drivers of crime, there are other drivers like unemployment and lack of education and so on. They are all important.

“Instead of more pilots, let’s get on and do it. The way things work now, far too often courts are simply confronted by the same offender for repeat offences, with little ability to address the real issues,” Rick Barker said.

Authorised by Rick Barker, MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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