Ex-National MP to lead criminal justice group

Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Government's justice summit is a chance to have an honest conversation about current problems. Photo: Lynn Grieveson.

Former policeman and ex-National MP Chester Borrows will lead an advisory group tasked with fixing New Zealand's "broken" criminal justice system, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced.

Little has announced the formation of the group ahead of the Government's criminal justice summit, Hapaitia Te Oranga Tangata, scheduled for late August.

The summit will be launched by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Parliament on August 20, with the remainder of the three-day event held in Porirua.

Little said he had decided to set up a Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group to work with the justice sector on a "prudent and realistic scope for effective criminal justice reform".

“The advisory group brings together people with practical working experience of the realities of our broken criminal justice system," he said.

The group will be chaired by Borrows, a former Courts Minister and National MP from 2005 to 2017 who worked as a policeman before moving to the realm of politics.

The other members are independent victims’ advocate Ruth Money, defence lawyer Julia Whaipooti, Independent Police Conduct Authority general manager Dr Warren Young, clinical psychologist Tony Ward, University of Auckland professor Tracey McIntosh, Victoria University law professor Dr Carwyn Jones, and sociologist Dr Jarrod Gilbert.

Little said New Zealand needed less offending and reoffending, and fewer victims of crime, with the country currently having one of the highest reoffending rates in the OECD.

"Real change means we have to do things differently. The summit provides a start to honest conversations as a country, supported by real evidence."

The summit was about "having the guts to look honestly at out slide towards an American-style justice system, and fixing things so we can have safer Kiwi communities," Little said.