Wellbeing Budget 2022

A Secure Future

Justice Cluster

The Justice Cluster is one of two pilots in Budget 2022 looking to enable more efficient and effective inter-agency investment beyond an annual Budget cycle, with the aim of delivering improved and enduring wellbeing outcomes for New Zealanders. The Justice Cluster consists of five agencies: the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections, the Serious Fraud Office, and the Crown Law Office. These agencies share responsibility for the criminal justice system, courts, and the wider Justice sector.

The Justice Cluster agencies will receive $2.7 billion total operating and $65 million capital funding across the forecast period, representing three Budgets' worth of investment which will be counted across multiple allowances. In addition to this three-year funding package, Budget 2022 provides funding for the Independent Police Conduct Authority and Electoral Commission, capital funding for critical court infrastructure, and a package of initiatives aimed at eliminating family and sexual violence.

The funding certainty provided through this package should allow the Cluster to focus on outcome delivery and generate system changes that will endure beyond the short term.

Cluster Ministers and agencies have worked together to agree the following four priorities for the system, aimed at progressing the Cluster's vision for a more effective justice system that contributes positive outcomes for people in the system, their communities, and the whole of New Zealand:

In the long-term, this will involve a shift in investment from more traditional justice processes and infrastructure towards earlier community-based prevention, support activity and responses. This approach is expected to be both cost-effective and more effective in preventing harm.

Before we can make progress on reforming the system, we first need to address pressures on the current system. The Justice Cluster package makes a number of investments in our court system, including funding to meet demand for critical services (such as interpreters), maintaining critical technology, and strengthening court security. In addition to the funding provided in the Cluster package, we are setting aside funding to invest in a new digital caseflow system that will significantly improve the efficiency and accessibility of the court system.

The package includes $190 million of total operating funding to maintain and strengthen our legal aid scheme, to ensure access to justice for people who need legal help and could not otherwise afford a lawyer. We are also committed to improving the experience of victims in the criminal justice system, by investing in a cross-sector, co-designed model to guide future investment in services for victims, and increasing the uptake of financial grants under the Victims Assistance Scheme.

We are committed to investing in solutions to prevent harm from crime in communities and improve the safety of our frontline workers. This includes a commitment to build on the already-funded 1800 additional Police. Budget 2022 sets aside funding to maintain the Police-to-population ratio once the current commitment is met.

Budget 2022 also includes $92 million of total operating and $2 million capital funding for effective cross-agency implementation of the Government's end-to-end strategy to prevent the harm from serious and organised crime in New Zealand.

This is supported by $165 million of total operating and $21 million capital funding for the rollout of a Tactical Response Model that will enhance the Police's capability to respond to and prevent high-risk incidents. We are also investing $198 million operating and $6 million capital in greater resourcing to support the wellbeing of people in Corrections' care and respond to changed levels of operational complexity.

While we are addressing critical pressures in the court system, we are also looking ahead to future transformation. This includes an investment of $47 million total operating funding to design and deliver Te Ao Mārama, a new operating model for the District Court. This approach will be developed in partnership with iwi and communities, to deliver services that better reflect the diversity, strengths and needs of each community.

Outside of the criminal justice system, we are investing in:

  • delivering on the Government's commitment following the March 15 terror attack to enable safer firearms use in New Zealand ($34 million total operating and $13 million capital)
  • increasing the number of permanent coroners and support staff to improve the experience of bereaved families and whānau in the coronial system, reduce the number of cases and wait times, and ensure culturally appropriate support to bereaved ($28 million total operating and $2 million capital funding)
  • supporting our democratic processes, through ongoing funding for the Electoral Commission to deliver future elections ($141 million total operating funding), and
  • strengthening the Independent Police Conduct Authority to deliver timely and quality responses to complaints ($4 million total operating funding).

In addition to the core Justice package, Budget 2022 provides a further $115 million total operating funding towards eliminating family and sexual violence, in line with Te Aorerekura - the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence, launched in December 2021. This package was led by the newly formed Executive Board for the Elimination of Family Violence and Sexual Violence, and spans investment across the Justice, Health and Social sectors. It will support better primary prevention services, support community-led responses, and improve workforce capability to strengthen community approaches to eliminating family violence and sexual violence.

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