web analytics

Incarceration Insanity

Written By: - Date published: 1:07 pm, August 15th, 2010 - 42 comments
Categories: prisons - Tags:

Hopefully this article, in both The Press and The DomPost might start a debate about whether we want Corrections (Newspeak for Prisons) to be the largest government department.

New Zealand has a ridiculously high prison rate, which is a common characteristic of unequal societies that we’ve pushed further (although not as far as the US).  David Garrett denies the 2nd highest rate in the Western World by saying that no, we’re 61st in the whole world – as if being behind Singapore, Israel (with its political prisoners) and a slew of African dictatorships and other war-torn countries made it better.

Prison doesn’t work.  It keeps people off the streets, but, as psychiatrist James Gilligan says:

The most effective way to turn a non-violent person into a violent one is to send him to prison.1

In theory prisons have 4 purposes: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation of serious criminals and rehabilitation.

But there is no deterrence: criminals wouldn’t commit the crimes if they thought once, let alone the twice David Garrett thinks harsher sentences achieve.  There is little correlation between crime rate and imprisonment rate; what there is says a higher prison rate matches a higher crime rate, rather than reducing it.

And there is no rehabilitation when there’s double-bunking, container cells and prison officers too over-stretched to let prisoners out for counselling and work-training programs.  Not to mention no parole period to help them re-adjust into society.  People who go to prison are far more likely to re-offend than those sentenced to community offences – even for the same crimes.

So we’re left with Retribution, Incapacitation and in fact 3 more unstated purposes: Class Control, Scapegoating and Political Gain2, as politicians use a “dangerous class” to keep the poor away from the middle classes and distract from other social problems.  Do we want a society based on retribution?  We are currently about 10 years behind the USA in our prison policy.  Where are we headed if the image of our vision is 2 million in jail and a State the size of California going bankrupt paying for its incarceration fetish?

We need to have a rethink.  In The Netherlands a group of criminal lawyers, criminologists and psychiatrists came together to influence the penal system.  The said that:

the offender must be treated as a thinking and feeling fellow human beings, capable of responding to insights offered in the course of a dialogue… with therapeutic agents.3

They have a prison system with a much lower incarceration rate, and for those in prison, home leave to keep them in touch with their family and community, and an emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation, along with extensive parole to help them re-adjust.

Recidivism rates in more equal countries, with lower incarceration and rehabilitative prisons are about 35%; in the UK/US 60-65%.  We have 50% of prisoners re-offending after 4 years; I cannot find long term data.  At $90,000 to house each prisoner each year and $250,000 per new place that needs building, that’s a lot of people to be continuously paying for as they continuously re-offend.

And it’s not just the prisoner cost.  Those high crime rates also require more police.  A more equal society with a less retributive attitude needs a lot less police and money spent on security.

Wouldn’t we rather be spending that money on education (particularly Early Childhood Education and Adult & Community Education which make large differences) to give people opportunities before they end up channelled into a cycle of crime and prison?

hat-tip: The Spirit Level (again)

1 J Gilligan, Preventing Violence, 2001
2 J Irwin, The Warehouse Prison: Disposal of the new dangerous class, 2005

3 D Downes, ‘The buckling of the shields: Dutch penal policy 1985-1995’, Comparing Prison Systems: Towards a comparative and international penology, Weiss & South (eds), 1998

42 comments on “Incarceration Insanity ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    What would happen if first-time/non-violent/low-risk offenders were put not in prison, but instead were taken to a place of complete isolation… away from their usual social circle … and required to stay there until they were able to talk sense to a councillor? Something a little like what Outward Bound does, but for longer and tightly structured.

    Social isolation is exceedingly challenging for most people, and prompts them to think very hard about their life and what kind of changes they need to make.

    The way out would be to full-heartedly participate and succeed at literacy and numeracy remedial education, a well-defined period of community work, and completion of anger managment/addictive behaviour education.

    There is any amount of community work that needs doing in the conservation, re-forestation, bio-diversity areas that could be achieved this way. At the moment a lot so-called ‘community service’ is rather poorly structured and managed. Most of the time they turn up in a motley bunch, muck about at some half-arsed tasks and hanging out much of the day bored out of their skulls. With sensible funding, management and resources much, much more could be achieved… and most importantly… create a sense of achievement and success at something challenging and worthwhile in their otherwise feckless young lives. Ideally you even re-cycle the ‘graduates’ from this process back into working with ‘new entrants’ at the beginning.

    The purpose of ‘rehabilitaion’ as we have called it to now has been to get offenders more or less to the point where we could toss them back into the lives they came from, and delude ourselves that maybe they might come right and not re-offend again. That’s was never good enough.

    The real goal must be to get them to the point where they are capable of, desiring of, breaking out of the inequality trap they have been born into. (Yes this begs the obvious wider question about inequality in society overall, but crime and it’s consequences is nonetheless a matter of dealing with individual offenders and their treatment.) We’ve allowed generations of domestic violence and deprivation to breed a dysfunctional underclass in this country, and it’s going to take at least the same time to repair the damage. Which can only begin to happen if we can trip the ‘circuit breakers’ of violence, substance abuse and poverty that stalks our non-leafy suburbs.

    Offenders are not aliens; mostly they are ordinary people like you and I, but who’ve been ‘shit-magnets’ all their lives; it’s all they’ve known. Making dumb shitty choices is just business as usual for them. Getting them out of that place is a matter of getting them to see different, better choices.

    • Rex Widerstrom 1.1

      Social isolation is exceedingly challenging for most people, and prompts people to think very hard about their life and what kind of changes they need to make.

      You’ve nailed it RedLogix. Every prisoner to whom I speak who has had some sort of epiphany about their behaviour has attributed this not to incarceration (and certainly not to the threat of further incarceration) but – to a greater or lesser degree – to being isolated, having the day-to-day stresses of bills, finding work, dealing with relationship problems etc forcibly removed, and being able to reflect.

      Sure lots of other things can help that process. Counseling. Seeing the effect your behaviour has had on your family. Facing your victims. But these things all need time to process.

      The absolute irony, then, is that we’re packing our prisons so full that cells designed for one are being filled with two and sometimes three prisoners. Social isolation is the last thing we’re offering. Instead we throw people into a snake pit and expect that, when we finally throw them out again, they won’t bite.

      Your concept is exactly what many in the prison reform movement argue for… yet are accused of being “soft on crims”. Yet ask a criminal whether they’d prefer to work at a remote bush camp or sit with their feet up in a(crowded) cell and they’ll characterise the person suggesting the work camp as the one being “tough”.

    • We used to do this by sentencing people to solitary confinement. Kept away from everyone – including other prisoners – not even much contact with prison guards; just left alone with their thoughts to contemplate and rehabilitate.

      People literally went insane. It’s not considered torture.

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        Open-ended solitary confinement in a punative claustrophobic cell, cut-off from all contact with sunshine, exercise and probably on a miserable nutrition-free diet is of course a potentially damaging regime.

        But as with all potent tools, solitary can be concievably used or misused. As can strawmen.

        • Graeme Edgeler 1.2.1.1

          Accepted international practice is now that anything longer than 3 days is dangerous.

      • Rex Widerstrom 1.2.2

        I can’t speak for RL Graeme but I’m certainly not advocating lengthy periods of solitary confinement.

        I’m talking about the 12 – 13 hours prisoners are locked in their cells overnight. They can read, they can watch TV and they can think. Eventually they start to think. But if they’re bunked up they talk… about crime and drugs, usually. And they get on one another’s nerves. And whatever else they do, contemplation isn’t part of it.

        Besides, you sems to have missed the point that RL was talking originally about group isolation. At least I assume this is the case, as community work in conservation, re-forestation, bio-diversity sounds like a group activity, and Outward Bound is mentioned… that’s hardly akin to solitary confinement as practiced in a prison.

        • RedLogix 1.2.2.1

          In this case Rex …you’re welcome to put words into my mouth.

          I’ve no idea exactly what the optimum form of isolation might take, indeed if there is any such thing given the sheer diversity of offenders and the reasons why they have been convicted…but Graeme’s notion of driving people mad by tossing them into dark, airless holes for months on end does seem a tad counter-productive.

      • guess 1.2.3

        It was called “the digger” and was still in use in the late seventies and early eighties where recalcitrant inmates were sentenced to by the First Officer for up to a month at a time. Misbehave and extra time was added, up to a month at a time.

        At 6am the inmate was let out to empty his piss pot and wash in cold water, number one rations were issued, one pound of boiled potatoes, half a loaf of bread, four ounces of dripping and one pint of milk, all bedding, a mattress and one blanket and pjamas, were removed and clothing for the day and one book were issued
        .
        The day was spent in a bare cell with one book, a piss pot, and a single light turned on, no exterior light in the digger. At 6pm the inmate was let out to empty his piss pot and wash, clothing and reading material was removed, bedding was issued and the light was turned off.

        Graeme is right, people were driven insane by month after month of solitary confinement but they’ve got a nice new words now, separates and behaviour modification units.

        And no, I aint’ telling how I know about the digger.

    • comedy 1.3

      How may first-time/non-violent/low-risk offenders are put into prison ?

      • RedLogix 1.3.1

        Well there’s a first time in prison for everyone inside. But of course very few arrive in prison for their first criminal offence. Many have a long history of stupidity that led them there giving plenty of opportunity to intervene and change their lives before they do real damage.

        Indeed Celia Lashley has pointed out that many future criminals can be predicted as pre-schoolers but we do nothing about it at an early stage when intervening would have a huge cost-benefit ratio… if we were serious about reducing crime.

        But we are not. What we actually do is wait until after the damage of the crime is done and then get our righteous jollies inflicting retribution.

      • Rex Widerstrom 1.3.2

        A New Zealand study of 22,340 inmates who were released from prison between 1995 and 1998 found that:

        Over two-thirds (70%) of the inmates had more than 10 convictions prior to being imprisoned. Only 5% of the inmates had no prior convictions. However, for nearly one-fifth (18%) of these “first offenders”, while they had no prior convictions, they had prior proved offences in the Youth Court. Almost two-thirds (65%) of the imprisoned “first offenders” were convicted of a violent or sexual offence, almost one-quarter (24%) were convicted of a property offence (mostly burglary or fraud), and 6% were convicted of drug dealing.

    • prosaic 1.4

      The social isolation idea may have something in it–and ‘outward bound’ type schemes are utilised very much in the Youth Justice system (in groups only). ‘First-time/non-violent/low-risk offenders’ are never put in prison. However we’d need to be aware of the cultural appropriateness of social isolation. Isolation certainly didn’t benefit law-breaking Australian Aborigines but, in some cases, killed them. Not sure this would be appropriate for many Maori either, given the importance of whanaungatanga in well-being. People who are oppressed are likely to break the law. As BUNJI says, the problem is largely the oppression of the ‘have nots’ by the ‘haves’, or the gap between rich and poor. A large gap between rich and poor is arguably responsible for all sorts of societal problems and in countries where the gap is small (like Sweden) there is less abuse, violence, addiction, unemployment, incarceration, depression, etc. A great book on this stuff (and on how to ‘fix’ it by increasing emotional intelligence and empathy) is Robin Grille, Parenting for a Peaceful World (http://www.naturalchild.org/ppw/). Because the road to prison does start from birth.

      • prism 1.4.1

        prosaic People who are oppressed are likely to break the law. As BUNJI says, the problem is largely the oppression of the ‘have nots’ by the ‘haves’, or the gap between rich and poor.

        I think that statement presents a half-truth often repeated. Different classes have different laws made for them. The wealthy break the law quite often, car speed, tax evasion, embezzlement, violence against spouses, neglect of children, manipulation of company funds and prospectuses etc. They just commit more elegant crimes than the lower class, and there is a bigger population in the lower class, with less well-paid and less satisfying jobs.

  2. nilats 2

    [Not needed.]

  3. Tigger 3

    No love for the magical ‘Maori’ flag that will spread it’s healing rays over every prison it waves over?

  4. PK 4

    ***Prison doesn’t work.***

    Well, it does actually. Increased incarceration levels & increased police numbers were behind the fall in US crime rates in the 90’s (the receeding crack epidemic & access to abortion for the poor following Roe v Wade were the other two main factors). See Freakanomic’s author Steven Levitt’s paper discussing this.

    Levitt, Steven D. (Winter 2004). “Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not” . Journal of Economic Perspectives 18: 163190.

    http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/LevittUnderstandingWhyCrime2004.pdf

    ***a State the size of California going bankrupt paying for its incarceration fetish?***

    California is going bankrupt in large part for not enforcing immigration laws. The costs in education, welfare & health are massive.

    “Perhaps the most disingenuous myth about illegal immigrants is that they do not impose any cost on society. The reality is that even those who work and half do not, according to the Pew Hispanic Center cannot subsist on the wages they receive and depend on public assistance to a large degree. Research on Los Angeles immigrants by Harvard University scholar George J. Borjas shows that 40.1 percent of immigrant families with non-citizen heads of household receive welfare, compared with 12.7 percent of households with native-born heads. Illegal immigrants also increase public expenditures on health care, education, and prisons. In California today, illegal immigrants’ cost to the taxpayer is estimated to be $13 billion half the state’s budget deficit.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112167023

    • loota 4.1

      As for the npr article, the writer quotes Milton Freidman FTW, so we know where that is coming from.

      Perhaps the most disingenuous myth about illegal immigrants is that they do not impose any cost on society.

      – Who is it who repeats this ‘myth’ – or is it a straw man? I’ve never heard a member of Congress say that illegal immigrants pose no costs on US society.
      – Why do certain bad quality jobs exist at such low wages that US citizens refuse to do them and leave them to illegal immigrants?
      – Why is a country like Mexico unable to create a rich trading economy which allows it to retain these citizens who instead feel that they need to flee to the status of being illegals in the US?
      – Given that millions of these immigrants exist in the US, many of them having done so for years, had children in the US, what is the way forward for them?

      Interesting you let these articles do the talking for you…what is YOUR point of view?

      What do you see happening and why?

      Or are you just content to say that the answer is ‘crack down on these people, crack down harder, and keep cracking down on them hard’

      Remember the US post WWII its economy, science and technology was built on immigration and of course long before that too.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Ah yes… but if you actually read what Levitt says on p17 of the paper you link to:

      Finally, given the wide divergence in the frequency and severity of
      offending across criminals, sharply declining marginal benefits of incarceration are
      a possibility. In other words, the two-millionth criminal imprisoned is likely to
      impose a much smaller crime burden on society than the first prisoner. Although
      the elasticity of crime with respect to imprisonment builds in some declining
      marginal returns, the actual drop off may be much greater. We do not have good
      evidence on this point. These caveats suggest that further increases in imprisonment
      may be less attractive than the naive cost benefit analysis would suggest

      In other words prisons, while useful up to a degree, cannot be an actual solution to crime. If a higher imprisonment rate = less crime = higher benefit to society, then logically the best way to eliminate all crime would be to incarcerate all males between the ages of 14 and 40. This absurdity tells you that simply increasing imprisonment rates cannot be the answer. Even Levitt tacitly acknowledges that.

      • PK 4.2.1

        ***In other words prisons, while useful up to a degree, cannot be an actual solution to crime. If a higher imprisonment rate = less crime = higher benefit to society, then logically the best way to eliminate all crime would be to incarcerate all males between the ages of 14 and 40. This absurdity tells you that simply increasing imprisonment rates cannot be the answer. Even Levitt tacitly acknowledges that.***

        There isn’t any _one_ answer. I’m simply saying that prison is effective at reducing crime rates.

        On top of that you obviously need to reduce the number of children in abusive environments. To that end I would recommend birth control shots in exchange for ongoing welfare, although I doubt that’s going to be politically acceptable.

        • RedLogix 4.2.1.1

          I’m simply saying that prison is effective at reducing crime rates

          The point you deliberately ignore, the same point even your hero Levitt makes… prisons are a dead-end, dismal strategey with steeply diminishing returns.

          Try actually reading the material you referenced.

          • PK 4.2.1.1.1

            ***The point you deliberately ignore, the same point even your hero Levitt makes prisons are a dead-end, dismal strategey with steeply diminishing returns.***

            Levitt doesn’t say there are steeply diminishing returns. There may be, but there isn’t good evidence on that point. Levitt later indicates that due to fiscal constraints prison numbers are likely to stabilise, so abortion & increasing prison numbers will be the main contributors to future declining crime rates. That’s something I note above, that reducing the number of children born into abusive environments would reduce future crime rates. He discusses the crack epidemic, something which perhaps has an equivalent in NZ with P. Also, foetal alcohol syndrome is probably an issue that needs more attention.

    • Ari 4.3

      Actually there were far more factors than that behind the fall in crime in 90s, the one with the best correlation being wider access to abortion and birth control in the previous years. No single factor can be said to cause (or cure) crime, but there are some huge contributors.

      Wait, what? Who ever would have thought unwanted pregnancies would have a correlation with increased crime… 😉 Increasing support for at-risk children, widening access and improving attitudes to birth control, pro-choice abortion attitudes and laws, economic equality, high-quality education, a welfare system that encourages people into work without leaving them destitute beforehand…. all of these things matter in reducing crime before it starts.

  5. loota 5

    PK, so if higher levels of incarceration significantly reduced crime in the 1990’s, with less crime being committed, incarceration levels in the US must have fallen significantly by now, yes?

    I mean, there is less crime, so there is less time?

    Or didn’t incarceration ‘work’ like that.

  6. Bored 6

    Bunji, you aree to be applauded for pointing out that retribution does not work. At the centre any debate on crime comes that nasty little emotion, retribution. “Lock ’em up, throw away the keys” seems to be order of the day for the majority.

    Some observations and questions:
    * Them is us. I am yet to meet anybody who is a saint, we all have our nasty little secrets that we are ashamed of. How much lust for retribution is displacement of personal guilt?
    * Might the “criminals” we need protection from more properly be described as “psychopaths” “sociopaths” etc and be better handled by a proper “mental health” system?
    * When the upper levels of our society set such a good example of elevating pursuit of wealth and flaunting of possessions to such a high level is it any surprise that the lower levels of society are tempted to utilise “criminal” methods to achieve the same?

    • Brett 6.1

      So if your mother or daughter was raped and murdered, you would have no problem forgiving the person who did this act?

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        In the end Brett, yes. If you don’t then the crime is committed twice, once in the act itself and then again as it blights your own life in eternal bitterness.

        It is the role of the Courts and Corrections to administer justice.

        • Brett 6.1.1.1

          Personally I could never forgive some one who did that to my family.
          I’d want blood and lots of it.

          • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1.1.1

            Perfectly natural.

            Which is why we have police, criminal laws, trials, and prisons, rather than lynch mobs, ropes, and incessant, ever expanding blood feuds.

            • Brett 6.1.1.1.1.1

              I am a realist though and I know I the chances of extracting justice via my own hand is pretty slim.
              Which is why I would expect the punishment/sentence handed out to reflect the pain and suffering this individual has caused.

          • Bored 6.1.1.1.2

            Brett,

            I would want that person locked in a mental ward until everybody could be assured nobody else would become their victim. Which might mean forever. As Red says I would not want the crime to blight my life ongoing, getting blood revenge would only make it worse.

      • Ari 6.1.2

        Nobody has to forgive the perpetrators of crime, especially not rapists, murderers, or abusers. You just have to realise it’s better for all of is that they spend a productive and rehabilitated life regretting what they did before than going on to do it again to some other innocent victim, despite how distasteful the idea is of them not feeling disproportionate pain and suffering right back. You can stay exactly as angry, hurt, or upset as you want if you’re a victim of crime, and I think everyone understands that this is a perfectly natural reaction to the loss involved.

        (Although I’d prefer victims found some way to move on despite their loss, because it’s bad for their own mental health if they can’t, and if they’re stewing on it all their lives they’ve effectively been victimised again each time the topic comes to mind for them)

  7. prism 7

    What a terrific graphic you have put on this post. Very clever to combine the hands grasping the bars of a price scanner – so appropriate for this move into private prisons. They are just another way for unprincipled, cold-hearted business people to make money, in this case out of degraded people.

    The same as in the alcohol scam that all governments have sunk in up to their knees, drawing off taxes and duties and not upsetting some very influential wealthy people who like the blue chip investment into a legally sanctioned and loosely regulated drug market. (In this case more controls and sanctions are needed on alcohol and marijuana also legalised and controlled so it becomes a blue chip investment too, along with hemp growing.) Aucklanders are protesting at the number of liquor outlets feeding off the community’s weakest – as one woman puts it “There used to be a dairy on every corner, now it’s a liquor outlet.”

  8. Pat 8

    “What would happen if first-time/non-violent/low-risk offenders were put not in prison, but instead were taken to a place of complete isolation…”

    We tried that once on the Chatham Islands, and the buggers escaped and caused havoc in the BOP.

  9. randal 9

    what I want to know is how to buy shares in the companies that run the slammers.
    it seems to be the best sunrise industry in new zealand.

  10. randal 10

    make that the only sunrise industry in new zealand!

    • pollywog 10.1

      how about rent-a-cops…private security and bodyguards for the fatcats ? Bet there’d be heaps of bros would rather do that than petty crime…

      Prison and harsher sentences only seem a deterrent only if you’ve never been to prison. Not having been, i’m shit scared of going but if i ever do and come out, i dont think i’d give 2 shits about going back cos i’m sure reality isn’t nearly as bad as my perception of it.

      And another thing, is it a cultural thing on Maori’s behalf that they get caught, arrested and sentenced more or is it a cultural thing on the judiciary’s part that they sentence Maori more harshly and to prison more often ?

  11. jbanks 11

    Investing in rehabilitation would be a good method of decreasing the future cost to society.

    If only there were a way so that this money didn’t come from tax payers but from the scum in prison.

  12. Claudia 12

    Toi Whakaari, our National Drama School, is putting on

    THE PERSECUTION AND ASSASSINATION OF JEAN-PAUL MARAT AS PERFORMED BY THE INMATES OF THE ASYLUM OF CHARENTON UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE MARQUIS DE SADE

    between Thurs 19 Sat 28 August

    I would not be surprised if its relevance to recent political events will be explored.

    For further info, see

    http://www.toiwhakaari.ac.nz/our_shows/coming_productions/JeanPaulMarat.html

  13. A really good article Bunji, and it’s encouraging to see debate that is more constructive than those we have come to expect from the beehive.

    In relation the ‘solitary’ issues related above, the early American prisons of the 1800s were set up exactly on those lines. Indeed, there were two – fiercely competitive – schools of thought, represented by the ‘silent’ or ‘auburn’ system and the ‘separate’ or ‘Pennsylvania’ system’ both sought rehabilitative functions (and both, admittedly, had their problems). Although we tend to think of prisons as having been around forever, they are relatively new criminal justice devises. Before the late 1800s, prisons were only used to house inmates waiting physical punishment (or transportation to the colonies) or to hold debtors until they could pay their bills.

    Anyway, the ‘modern prison’ of the 1800s was a tool designed for rehabilitation. But limited understandings or criminal behaviour, and budget constraints meant they slowly transformed into places of confinement. Although most people are quite aware that socio-economic drivers need to be addressed before crime can be tackled in a meaningful way – it is important that prisons rediscover their rehabilitative function.

    A recent report by the National Health Committee had outlined the shocking problems of New Zealand prisons, and I encourage anybody interested to have a look at it. Among numerous other things, the report highlighted the fact that 52 percent of New Zealand prisoner had psychiatric conditions and 89 percent had substance abuse issues. Unless we look to address these types of issues, we will not address recidivism and therefore the creation of more victims. It cost over $90,000 annually to house a prisoner as well as a one-off cost of $250,000 toward capital costs. It costs a lot less to address mental health and addiction issues. But until we do so, prison will continue to be an expensive revolving door. Both socially and fiscally, it appears quite clear that we can’t afford to continue on our current path.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Progress in establishment of Aged Care Commissioner
    Recruitment for an Aged Care Commissioner will start next month, to ensure greater oversight of New Zealand’s aged care sector. “This sector is responsible for supporting a large and often vulnerable population. While most people are able to access quality care, there have been cases where that care has fallen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • New record number of homes consented
    In the year ended June 2021, the actual number of new dwellings consented was 44,299, up 18 percent from the June 2020 year. In June 2021, the seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented rose 3.8 percent. In June 2021, 4,310 new dwellings were consented, an increase of 3.8 per ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Communities backed to tackle wilding pines
    Twelve community projects across New Zealand will receive a share of $2 million to carry out wilding pine control, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced as part of Biosecurity Week. “Wilding pines are a serious problem that threaten many of the unique landscapes that New Zealanders value. Community groups and trusts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health Minister Andrew Little responding to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation's rejection of ...
    I was advised last night that the result of the ballot of Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa New Zealand Nurses Organisation members have rejected the latest proposal to settle their collective agreement. Let me be clear: the proposal was one they put to the Government. The Nurses Organisation rejected their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation introduced to Parliament
    Legislation has been introduced to Parliament to protect against practices intended to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Introducing the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, said the measures proposed were aimed at ending conversion practices which don’t work, are widely ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New school site for booming West Auckland
    The Government will build on a new school site in West Auckland to cope with rapid population growth in the area, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Ministry is working with existing local schools to determine how the 1.5-hectare site at 279 Hobsonville Point Road will be used to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman travel window to close at midnight tomorrow
    A further 500 MIQ rooms released for managed returnees from NSW Further Government actions announced today are balanced to provide more certainty for Kiwis wanting to return from Australia, while continuing to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Ayesha Verrall says. The actions were foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt investing millions in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti schools
    Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools are among those set to benefit from a $16.5 million investment in the Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti region, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced today. The Government has set aside money in Budget 2021 to accelerate five projects in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Game changing Jobs for Nature investment for Northland
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan has announced Jobs for Nature funding for a portfolio of projects that will create ‘game changing’ gains for nature and communities across Northland/Te Tai Tokerau as part of the Government’s acceleration of the economic recovery from COVID. “This portfolio of 12 projects will see over $20 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Third COVID-19 vaccine receives provisional approval
    New Zealand’s regulatory authority Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older, Acting Minister for COVID-19 Response Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. New Zealand secured 7.6 million doses (enough for 3.8 million people) of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bowel-cancer screening programme is saving lives
    More than 1000 New Zealanders have had bowel cancer – New Zealand’s second-most-common cause of death from cancer - detected under the Government’s National Bowel Screening Programme, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. More than 1200 New Zealanders died from bowel cancer in 2017. The screening programme aims to save ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt welcomes draft report on the retail grocery sector
    The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Christchurch’s Youth Hub ‘set to go’ thanks to further Government funding
    Construction of New Zealand’s first, purpose-built centre for youth well-being is ready to get underway thanks to an extra $2.5 million of COVID-19 response funding, Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Megan Woods announced today.  “The Christchurch Youth Hub is about bringing together all the things young people need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next step to protect Milford Sound Piopiotahi
    Expert group lays out plan to better protect iconic UNESCO World Heritage site Milford Sound Piopiotahi and its surrounds Funding confirmed for dedicated unit and Establishment Board to assess the recommendations and provide oversight of the process from here Milford Opportunities Project a test case for transformational change in tourism ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for projects to reduce waste from construction and demolition
    The Government has announced funding for projects in Auckland and the lower North Island to help reduce construction and demolition waste. “Construction is the main source of waste sent to landfill, and much of this could be reduced, reused and recovered,” Environment Minister David Parker said. “The Government is funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech at the launch of the National Hepatitis C Action Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you Anglesea Pharmacy and Te Manawa Taki for hosting this event. As a doctor, I saw first hand the impact of hepatitis C. I met Moana in 2019; she came to the infectious diseases outpatient clinic at Wellington Hospital having tested positive for hepatitis C. Like ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a major health threat by 2030
    A plan to eliminate hepatitis C in New Zealand, reducing liver cancer and the need for liver transplants, has been released today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “Around 45,000 New Zealanders have hepatitis C, but only around half know they have it,” said Ayesha Verrall. “Symptoms often ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School upgrades and new classrooms for West Coast, Tasman and Canterbury
    A funding injection from Budget 2021 to complete four shovel ready projects and new classrooms at six schools and kura will provide a real boost to local communities, Minister Dr Megan Woods announced today. “This Government has committed to providing quality fit for purpose learning environments and 100,000 new student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Warmer Kiwi Homes smashes annual target
    The Government's highly successful insulation and heating programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes, is celebrating a key milestone with the completion of more than 38,000 insulation and efficient heater installs in the year to the end of June, smashing its target of 25,000 installs for the year. “The Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Exemption granted for Wallabies to enter NZ
    Bledisloe Cup rugby will be played in New Zealand after the Australian rugby team received an economic exemption to enter New Zealand. Travel between Australia and New Zealand was suspended on Friday for at least eight weeks following the worsening of the COVID outbreak across the Tasman. New Zealanders have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced three New Zealand Head of Mission appointments. They are: Mike Walsh as Ambassador to Iran Michael Upton as Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Kevin Burnett as Ambassador to Indonesia Iran “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing and constructive relationship with Iran, despite a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for West Coast and Marlborough
    The Government has activated Enhanced Task Force Green (ETFG) in response to the West Coast and Marlborough floods, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “To assist with the clean-up, up to $500,000 will be made available to support the recovery in Buller and Marlborough which has experienced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt support for upgrade of Eden Park players facilities
    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon Grant Robertson has announced funding to upgrade the players facilities at Eden Park ahead of upcoming Women’s World Cup events. Eden Park is a confirmed venue for the Rugby World Cup 2021, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, and a proposed venue for matches of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More jobs and quicker public transport motoring towards West Auckland
    Work to improve public transport for West Aucklanders and support the region’s economic recovery by creating hundreds of jobs has officially kicked off, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff this morning marked the start of construction on the Northwestern Bus Improvements project. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government backs critical health research
    Research into some of New Zealanders’ biggest health concerns including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease is getting crucial support in the latest round of health research funding, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The funding, awarded through the Health Research Council of New Zealand, covers 31 General Project grants ($36.64 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Bay of Islands hospital facilities to bring services closer to home
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little have joined a ceremony to bless the site and workers for Phase Two of the redevelopment of the Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa today. The new building will house outpatients and primary care facilities, as well as expanded renal care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Raukokore re-imagined with ‘smart’ relocatable rent to own housing
    Iwi, Crown Partnership Relocatable, fully insulated housing, connected to a new solar plant Provides a pathway to home ownership New housing in the remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokore shows how iwi and Crown agencies can work together effectively to provide warm, dry, energy efficient homes in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cabinet accepts Turkish authorities’ request for the managed return of three NZ citizens
    Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year. Turkey has requested that New Zealand repatriate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt delivers more classrooms so children can focus on learning
    Extra Government investment in classrooms and school building projects will enable students and teachers to focus on education rather than overcrowding as school rolls grow across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis say. The pair visited Ruakākā School in Whangārei today to announce $100 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New station a platform for AirportLink to take off
    Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange today. The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand will be paused from 11.59am (NZT) tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. However, people currently in the state who ordinarily live in New Zealand will be able to return on “managed return” flights starting with the next available flight, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity by Chinese state-sponsored actors
    New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Remarks to Diplomatic Corps
    It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening. Some of you may have been surprised when you received an invitation from the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, and I would forgive you if you were. New Zealand is unique in having established a Ministerial portfolio ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago