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Goff Invites Power To Te Hurihanga

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Goff
Phil Goff

Labour Leader Phil Goff has invited Justice Minister Simon Power to Te Hurihanga, a specialised rehabilitation centre in Hamilton for youth on track to a life of crime, to see the centre's real value.

Mr Power announced last week he would be closing the successful programme in order to save money.

Phil Goff said he has written to Mr Power suggesting they visit the centre in the near future, meet the boys there, their families, local police and judges and the wider community.

"I hope Mr Power accepts this serious and genuine offer. Over the years, in my experience, he has always been prepared to have an open mind. I hope he does so in this case.

"Te Hurihanga has achieved world leading results in turning around the lives of young offenders for whom the result would otherwise have been a lifetime of adult offending and imprisonment.

"The cost of $171,000 for a serious young offender to go through the programme is high but it pales in significance when compared with the alternative.

"Without intervention, which this programme has successfully provided, these boys will end up costing the country up to millions of dollars each in police, justice and corrections costs. The sum of $171,000 represents the cost of just 18 months in prison.

"Most importantly, it stops people becoming victims and makes our communities safer.

"The visit would have value in a number of ways.

"Talking with the boys Mr Power would see how their lives can be turned around. Each has around 20-30 known offences per year, yet of the graduates as yet none has reoffended. Evaluation shows consistent improvement in behaviour in nearly all the boys undertaking the programme.

"Talking with the families he will see mothers who have gained hope where before there was only despair about the track that their sons were on.

"Talking with the staff, he will see skilled dedicated and experienced people who know they can make a difference in the lives of these boys, including those who did not graduate. It has taken 10 years to put this programme together. The evaluation is hugely positive about what has been done. Its destruction now in its early days when all indicators are that it is world class is a tragedy.

"Talking with the police, judges and social workers, Mr Power will see why they describe it as 'a godsend' and why they are devastated by its closure.

"Talking with the community, he will see why attitudes towards it have turned around and why local people see this programme as contributing to community safety.

"He will see this programme is strongly supported and endorsed by the Maori community and Tainui.

"I am prepared to work with the Government positively and constructively to promote programmes like this which really do make a difference and are not just window dressing," Mr Goff said.

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