Labour is working harder and smarter to keep our communities safe, break the cycle of offending, tackle the root causes of crime, and right historic wrongs. We’re building an effective, inclusive, and humane justice system to better support victims and their families.

Here are some of the steps we’re taking to make the justice system work for everyone and keep communities safe:

Tackling terrorism and gun violence

In the wake of March 15, we developed a raft of initiatives to promote inclusion and safety for all New Zealanders, and we also got serious about guns quickly, fairly, and safely. We banned military-style semi-automatic weapons, increased sentences and penalties for firearms crimes, and passed legislation to introduce a firearms registry. Our gun buy-back scheme and police seizures have taken more than 60,000 prohibited firearms out of circulation. We’re also strengthening counter-terrorism laws and ensuring the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm.

Reducing reoffending

We’re working to safely reduce the prison population, rehabilitate offenders, and reduce reoffending. We launched Hōkai Rangi, Corrections’ new operational strategy, which will underpin intergenerational change for those in our prisons and their whānau by changing the way Corrections operate on a day to day basis, with a bigger emphasis on wellbeing. One key part of the strategy is the Māori Pathways programme – a ground-breaking series of initiatives underway around the country that are designed in partnership with Māori to reduce reoffending and improve outcomes for whānau. We have now announced Māori Pathways in Christchurch Women’s Prison, Northland Regional Corrections Facility and Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison. We’re also replacing Upper Waikeria prison with a modern design, including a 100-bed mental health and addiction facility.

Keeping whānau safe

We’re breaking the cycle of family and sexual violence. We’ve passed the Family Violence and Family Violence (Amendments) Acts and we’re reforming and investing in the Family Court to give New Zealanders a safe, sensitive platform to have their voice heard. We’re working to enable our community-led, whānau-centred services to provide sustained and holistic support built around families and whānau and we’re extending early support to help people stop using violence.

Righting wrongs

We’re making sure the justice system lives up to its name. We launched a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care, supporting survivors to tell their stories and be heard. We established the Criminal Cases Review Commission to independently investigate alleged miscarriages of justice, and restored the right to vote to all eligible prisoners serving less than three years. We’ve also passed legislation to wipe unjust historic homosexual convictions from criminal records, and are working to ban harmful and outdated conversion practices.

Keeping our communities safe

We’re working to support communities and keep them safe. We’re going hard against gangs and organised crime networks, and we’re taking a tough stance on drug suppliers – imposing heavier penalties on illicit drug manufacturers and suppliers and reclassifying synthetic drugs as Class A – while moving to treat drug use as a health issue by giving Police discretion not to prosecute drug users. We’re also growing our Police force and making sure it’s responsive to community needs. We’ve recruited to achieve the largest and most diverse Police workforce in New Zealand history and we brought in the 105 Police non-emergency number, to improve public service and take pressure off the 111 line.

If re-elected, Labour will continue transforming our justice system and keeping communities safe.

  • We’ll roll out Northland’s Te Ara Oranga meth harm pilot to 4,000 more people
  • We’ll establish an Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court in Hawke’s Bay
  • We’ll support women in prisons through Wahine Māori Pathways
  • We’ll strengthen the Māori, Pacific and Ethnic Services branch of Police.

Find more detail on Labour's Law and Order policy here.

Labour’s plan

Labour is already rolling out our plan to keep our communities safe by breaking the cycle of offending, and improving our court system. That’s why we:

  • Further increased funding for family violence services, including a boost for services by Māori for Māori, support for victims of elder abuse, and rehabilitation programmes for people who use violence and want to change their behaviour
  • Took action to address the backlog of cases across the court system following the COVID-19 lockdown period, with investment from the COVID-19 Recovery Fund

Labour will continue to safely reduce the prison population, through effective crime prevention and rehabilitation strategies, progressive Policing, and improving access to legal services.

Labour will continue to promote positive changes within the court system to improve the experience of victims, including reducing secondary trauma, and improve outcomes.