SAM LOTU-LIGA announced that the government is to invest an additional $6.5 million in 2015/16 in both new and existing initiatives to help reduce prisoner re-offending. The extra operational funding will allow the Government to:
- Extend the Out of Gate prisoner reintegration programme’s work with non-governmental organisations that have proven ability and effective connections with local communities. The “Out the Gate” programme sees a private provider, The Goodwood Park Health Group, provide support and services to around 950 offenders upon their release from prison.
- Lift participation rates of offenders in rehabilitative programmes that will make a difference their lives, the lives of their families and to our community.
- Create opportunities for those serving community-based sentences
STEVEN JOYCE announced four more Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) selected by the Tertiary Education Commission at the end of the second round of CoREs funding. The Bio-Protection Research Centre (Lincoln University), The Riddet Institute (Massey University), QuakeCore: Centre for Earthquake Resilience (University of Canterbury) and $5 million a year for the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (The University of Auckland.) which was invited to submit. The other successful CoREs will focus on sustainable pest management solutions, food science and human health, earthquake disaster resilience.
JONATHAN COLEMAN announced a new $23.6 million into the development of a new acute mental health unit at Middlemore Hospital. The new 76-bed unit will replace the existing 52-bed acute mental health facility, Tiaho Mai.
ANNE TOLLEY said that people with unresolved claims of historic abuse in state care are to be given the option of a fast-track settlement, or to continue with the normal process. Those who choose the new settlement approach will receive a prompt financial payment and a letter of apology from the Ministry of Social Development Chief Executive. This will be available for claims lodged before the end of 2014. MSD has received 1572 claims since 2004, and so far only 583 have been resolved, with pay outs totalling $8.4 million. The average time taken to resolve a claim is 27 months, while 207 claims have been in the system for over five years. 862 people will be eligible for the faster settlement.