The Government will invest $100 million on a new courthouse in Tauranga which will be a model for future courthouse design for New Zealand, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced.
The courthouse will be designed in partnership with iwi, the local community, the judiciary, the legal profession, court staff and other court users. It will draw on Te Ao Māori values, and directly address victims’ safety needs in the court building.
“Victims routinely provide feedback about the alienating and distressing environment of the courthouse. It’s time to re-think the traditional courthouse design,” Andrew Little says.
“For victims, being forced to share the same space with people who have hurt them can be incredibly confrontational. But they are there to see justice done, and to express the pain that they have experienced. We must make sure that the processes of justice do not compound that hurt.
“Users of civil courts, such as the Family Court, also routinely ask for more family friendly design and an environment that is more sensitive to the stress associated with family break-ups.
“This is an investment New Zealand must make to meet our commitment to put victims at the heart of the justice system.
“The new court will provide both victims and offenders and other users with access to wrap-around services which support, restore and rehabilitate, through the co-location of social sector agencies and the community on the premises.
“This is a major milestone in ensuring less offending, less reoffending, and fewer victims of crime who are better supported,” Andrew Little says.
The announcement follows the release of reports from the Chief Victims Advisor, and from the Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group – both of which called for a redesign of our courthouses.
The new facility is expected to be ready by mid-2025.