Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams has welcomed the addition of the Gisborne courthouse to the audio visual link (AVL) network that connects courts and prisons.
The new link is the latest in a $27.8 million upgrade and expansion of AVL links to a total of 17 courts and 13 prisons. The installation of AVL into the Dunedin courthouse is expected to be completed by May.
The announcement of the members of the Flag Consideration Panel is the next step towards New Zealanders having the rare privilege of having a meaningful say on one of the most important symbols of our nation.
The 12-member panel will be chaired by Emeritus Professor John Burrows, ONZM, QC, who was co-chair of the Constitutional Advisory Panel. Writer and reviewer Kate de Goldi will be deputy chair.
The independent panel will be responsible for public consultation beginning in May. New Zealanders will be invited to send in designs or ideas for a possible alternative flag. The panel will then shortlist four designs for the first postal referendum. That will take place later this year and voters will be asked to rank the designs in order of preference.
The winning design will run off against the current flag in a second, binding referendum to be held in March next year.
This week the Government announced its decision to deploy a non-combat training mission to Iraq as part of New Zealand’s overall contribution to the international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Up to 143 NZDF personnel will join the two year mission, providing behind the wire training to Iraqi Security Forces so they are better able to fight ISIL.
Along with this deployment we are stepping up our humanitarian and diplomatic efforts in the region.
Although this has not been an easy decision to make, New Zealand cannot stand by while this organisation commits atrocities and poses a significant threat to international security. New Zealand is a country that stands up for its values.
The Government has required assurances that our personnel will be as safe as they can practicably be and we are confident our defence force will carry out this mission effectively.
The Bill reducing the number of unnecessary parole hearings for offenders who still pose a threat to the community passed its third and final reading in Parliament last night.
Justice Minister Amy Adams welcomed the progress of the Parole Amendment Bill, which implements the Government’s plan to reduce the number of parole hearings where the offender has little prospect of release.
A Bill to better protect children from sexual exploitation passed its second reading in Parliament last night.
The Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill increases the penalties for making, trading or possessing child sexual abuse material – and introduces a new offence for communicating with young people in an indecent manner.
National has rolled out audio visual link (AVL) technology to 12 prisons which hold remand prisoners, along with Auckland Prison (at Paremoremo) – which holds the highest-risk prisoners.
AVL technology allows prisoners to appear before a judge without leaving the secure confines of prison grounds. Prisoners can spend more time at rehabilitation and reintegration activities if they do not have to leave prison to attend court.
It also reduces the risks associated with transporting prisoners to court, such as the safety of the public, and corrections and courts staff. And it eliminates the risk of contraband being smuggled into prison, and the risk of escape while out of prison.
Over the last year, court escorts have already reduced by nearly 5,000 due to AVL, and this number is increasing.
National is committed to delivering better public services and modernising our court system with the technology that will deliver faster, cheaper, and more convenient court services.
National has started this school year by providing nearly $4.65 million to family members supporting vulnerable children.
National is acknowledging the hard work kin carers, such as grandparents, do caring for vulnerable children by supporting more than 9,500 children to get back to school this year with our School and Year Start Grants.
To help with back-to-school supplies, carers can receive between $400 and $550 for the children they support. The grants are available for families receiving either the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or Orphan’s Benefit.
National is committed to supporting our most vulnerable to achieve. The School and Year Start Grants help vulnerable children start the school year prepared and ready to learn.