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Power & Bennett: Fresh Start For Te Hurihanga

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Simon Power
Simon Power

An effective programme for youth offenders at Te Hurihanga will continue to be provided at the Te Hurihanga facility in Hamilton, Justice Minister Simon Power and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said today.

Since April 2007, Te Hurihanga has been a pilot residential and community-based treatment programme for young male offenders aged 14-17 years, and run by the Youth Horizons Trust for the Ministry of Justice. The pilot was scheduled for completion on 31 March 2010 and to this date has cost $5.040 million.

"Twenty-three young offenders have begun the residential Te Hurihanga programme which serves the Waikato region," Mr Power said. "However, only eight have completed the 9- to 18-month programme since April 2007. Averaged out, that's an estimated $630,000 for each successful youth.

"It's been a high-cost, low-volume programme, and the Ministry is unable to continue to absorb the high ongoing costs without cuts or reductions to other priority programmes."

The programme is to be replaced by a similar but more cost-effective one that will allow more young people to participate, and will more closely align to the Government's Fresh Start initiative.

Ms Bennett said: "We will be making every endeavour to ensure that the ethos and lessons learnt from Te Hurihanga are taken into account when developing a new Fresh Start programme.

"Child, Youth and Family, the Youth Horizons Trust, and the Ministry of Justice will work together to wind down the pilot programme, and to ensure the needs of any participants affected by the end of the pilot are met."

Mr Power said he acknowledged there is a continuing need for good programmes for seriously at-risk young people.

"The programme will be extended until 30 June this year to allow time to manage the transition of any participants to other programmes."

From 1 July, Crown ownership of Te Hurihanga will transfer to Child, Youth and Family. The provider of the new Fresh Start programme will be found via an open tender process.

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