Justice system "in big trouble"

The Government has promised to slash the prison population by 30 per cent in 15 years but members of the South Auckland community say change needs to start at a family level.

Justice Reform Advisory Group Chairman, Chester Borrows says, "This is a big job in front of us, we know that the justice system is in big trouble, it's not fair."

Panelist Julia Whaipooti says, "It's been easy to say let's be tough on crime but actually we're not being smart and we're not working with whānau and within communities to deal with hurt and harm that happens within communities so that we can make things better and do things in a way that works for us."

Urban Māori Authority Manager Tatiana Greening says underlying social problems need to be addressed and it all starts with families.

"Working with whānau doesn't matter where they've come from or where they're going, it's about their aspirations for reintegration, their aspirations for their journey in life."

Borrows says restorative justice is the way forward.

"There's going to be a lot of creative solutions, those iwi panels, community panels, rangatahi court I think extending them and making them more available is going to be somewhere where we end up."

Greening says, "We will just continue to challenge the system as long as we need them."

Today’s meeting is the first of thirteen public meetings to be held across the country over the next few months.