Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

Driving programme to steer offenders in right direction

By Online News - Rereātea, Regan Paranihi
  • Northland

A new direction has been offered to over 115 offenders and ex-prisoners in Whangarei with the new unlicenced offenders driving programme set to launch on the 1st of December.  

The programme is aimed at helping participants leave a life of crime and prison behind and help them to start focusing on a better future.

Mike Williams, CEO of NZ Howard League for Panel Reform says the programme will have many benefits including safer driving and more legal drivers.  The programme also promotes a new start after prison and could lead the participants into jobs.

He says, “65% of Maori offenders have a driving offence as part of their initial [conviction] and about 5% of jail sentences are just for driving without a licence.   Over 80% of all jobs these days require a drivers' licence.”

Corrections Minister Hon Kelvin Davis and Regional Economic Development Minister Hon Shane Jones are both set to make an appearance at the launch which will be held at the Whangarei Community Probation Office on Friday.

The Lighthouse Foundation contributed a donation to the cause in which helped established the programme.  William acknowledges Goldman NZ CEO Andrew Barclay for facilitating the donation.

He says, "However, we believe that in terms of bang for buck a New Zealand-wide programme should be a high priority for government spending."