There are three pillars that have guided me through my role as a father, a politician, and now as a Minister; equality, fairness, and kindness. These values are what underpin the Sixth Labour Government, and what I believe are fundamental principles of our justice system.
As a lawyer and a union leader, I fought for justice for hard-working New Zealanders both in the courtroom and in the biggest workplaces across the country. But now the Prime Minister has issued one of the biggest challenges to date – enacting an ambitious, values-driven agenda that puts fairness back at the heart of the justice system.
When the prison population has increased by 245% in the last 30 years, we have a problem.
When the gap is widening between those who have the means to enforce or defend their legal rights and those who don’t, we have a problem.
And when we have a system so heavily predicated on crime, punishment, and targets that we lose sight of what is humane or effective for offenders, victims, and the public, we have a problem.
That’s why we are committed to reducing the prison population by 30 percent in the next fifteen years. And that’s why we will tackle the justice gap headfirst by reviewing legal aid entitlements and thresholds to ensure the fundamental tenet of equal access to justice is upheld.
Equality, fairness, and kindness will motivate everything I do in the Justice portfolio. I look forward to working alongside you all to build a fair, humane, and effective justice system.
- Hon Andrew Little MP