Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Goff defends high cost solution to hard problem

Labour leader Phil Goff the Government's decision to stop funding a successful bicultural youth offender programme in Hamilton is a disgrace.

Justice Minister Simon Power and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett claim Te Hurihanga has cost $5 million since it started in 2007, and it will be replaced with a more cost effective programme.

Mr Goff, who was justice minister when the programme started, says it cost about $170,000 per offender, rather than the $600,000 claimed by the ministers.
He says its effectiveness topped the world, with zero reoffending by graduates so far.

“I said it would not be a cheap programme because it has to be intensive to work with kids that have got serious problems and to work with their families but there’s nothing cheap about imprisoning people at a cost to $100,000 a year, nothing cheap about the cost of crime and the hurt to the victim, nothing about the wasted lives of those boys who will probably without intervention go on to spend most of their time, when they are not out in the community offending, being locked up in prison,” Mr Goff says.


Meanwhile, Hawkes Bay Maori are welcoming the decision by the Corrections Department to scrap plans for a community work centre in the middle of Flaxmere.

More than 400 residents attended a meeting last night to speak out against the centre.

Henare O'Keefe, the Flaxmere representative on the Hastings District Council, says it's a victory for people power, which was shown at the meeting.

The council will work with Corrections to find another site in a non-residential area.


It's been a tough day for Maori musher Ngarewa Houston-Cummings, who has just completed the John Beargrease dog race in Minnesota.

Mrs Houston-Cummings, who now lives in Vermont, came in 18th out of a field of 44 in the 106 mile middle distance race, which included a four hour night leg.

Her mother, Bernadette Ririnui, says her daughter has called her team of eight Malamuts and Alaskan huskies Toiamai, which means to pull.

“It's been a wonderful thing because she’s brought a lot of Maoritanga into her interests and she is often in touch with us here in Aotearoa New Zealand to ask for different meanings she can apply to her team and her kuri and she emanates that Maoritanga to all her friends in the racing fraternity which is just great,” Mrs Ririnui says.

Another New Zealander, Curt Perano from Queenstown, is taking part in the Beagrease marathon, which is still going on.


A Manukau City councilor is fighting plans to fly the tino rangitiratanga flag from council buildings on Waitangi Day.

The issue comes before the council's policy and activities committee tonight.
Jami-Lee Ross from Ngati Porou says that means reversing a decision to only fly the New Zealand flag.

“I'm concerned that it unfortunately stands for separatism, it is a protest flag and a lot of people also see it as a flag that stands for separate Maori government and on New Zealand’s national day the Manukau City Council should be flying the New Zealand flag which is the flag of our country and represents all New Zealanders,” Mr Ross says.


The Youth Horizons Trust is disputing figures used to justify the closure of its ground-breaking Te Hurihanga programme for young offenders.

Justice Minister Simon Power and Social Development Minister Paul Bennett yesterday withdrew funding for the Hamilton based residential programme, saying it was costing $630,000 per graduate.

But trust chief executive Cath Handley says only eight of the 23 predominantly Maori offenders had completed the programme.

“The cost has averaged per young person just over 160,000 or 166,000 per year and that is a cost that reduces over time as you increase your throughput and increase your efficacy of your programme. As you get better at certain things, you do not cut corners but you do them better,” Ms Handley says.

The 14 to 17 year olds in Te Hurihanga have an average of 23 previous convictions, and if they continue in that life they will cost the taxpayer much more for much longer.


Phil Tataurangi's agent says his performance in last week's New Zealand Open in Queenstown shows his determination to come back from injury.

Tataurangi finished with a six under par 282 for a share of 16th place.

Geoff Burns says it has taken the golfer years to get over double hernias and two lots of back surgery, but he's not giving up the game.

“Phil’s not a quitter. Obviously you wonder if you are gong to get back to where you have been, but I didn’t sense he thought he’d done enough. I always felt he’d keep working for as long as he could,” he says.

Phil Tataurangi in now in Melbourne getting ready for this week's Moonah Classic.

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