New Zealand Labour Party

Labour: A smarter approach to justice

A Labour Government will improve the justice system to ensure it achieves real public safety, provides equal access to justice and protects human rights, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.

“Our approach is about tackling the root causes of crime, recognising the importance of community involvement in the justice system, and promoting a secure and inclusive society.

“Equal access to the law is a priority. Financial means should never be a barrier to justice. Labour will reform the legal aid and public defence system so that all defendants and civil litigants are able to be fairly represented.

“As well as providing better and more practical support for victims, Labour will enhance protections in the New Zealand Bill of Rights - with input from the public - to better protect basic civil liberties.

“The best way to make our communities safer is by preventing crime from happening in the first place and by investing in changing offenders’ behaviour early.

“That means social development policies must address family violence and it means allocating resources towards measures that genuinely improve community safety, to prevent reoffending rather than creating repeat offenders.

“As previously stated Labour will implement a comprehensive policy to eliminate family and sexual violence, while frontline police resources will be directed where they are needed the most – protecting the public.”

Labour will also:

  • Stop privatisation of prisons and return those currently under private management to public administration as contracts expire
  • Ensure parties to disputes in the Family Court have access to legal advice throughout the process
  • Restore judicial discretion so that judges can take account of all of the circumstances in a particular case when sentencing, while retaining support for preventive detention for serious crimes
  • Look into how best to address Maori over-representation in the criminal justice system


“A Labour Government will take a smarter approach to justice and build a system that focuses on real and enduring ways to make New Zealand a better place to live in.”

To read more about our Justice policy, click here.