20 Jan 2018

Justice reform group suggests marae as bail address

9:50 am on 20 January 2018

Marae in Northland should be used as bail addresses for people with nowhere else to go but prison, a justice advocacy group says.

No caption.

Photo: 123RF

The Sir Peter Williams QC Penal Reform League said if introduced, it would help with accommodation shortages and the upkeep of marae.

Spokesperson Heeni Phillips-Williams said those staying would pay board and help out around the marae, and in turn they would get wrap-around services.

"Depending on which marae ... they can learn some te reo and they can also familiarise, or refamiliarise, or deepen their knowledge of, cultural aspects."

Auckland defence lawyer John Anderson said using marae as bail addresses would help those on electronic release who struggle to get permission to stay in private accommodation or in Housing New Zealand properties while awaiting trial.

Mr Anderson, who is not part of the league, said it would save the taxpayer money and could allow people to continue working and maintain relationships with family.

The Minister of Corrections and the Minister of Justice had not been approached about the idea yet, but Pipiwai and Motatau marae in Northland were onboard, Lady Heeni said.

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