UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne is supporting the Children’s Commissioner’s call to raise the Youth Court age to 18.

Judge Becroft and more than 30 other organisations working with young people have recently called on the Government to lift the age from 17 to 18.

“The Youth Court has worked successfully in New Zealand, and we are one a very few number of countries not to have young people under the age of 18 under the jurisdiction of the Youth Court.

“It is time for a change, and I have discussed this with the Prime Minister, who seems not averse to the idea” he says.

Mr Dunne says the Youth Court is able to deal with young offenders in a more sensitive and innovative way than the normal criminal Courts, and that flexibility offers real hope of being able to rehabilitate young people before they become habitual offenders.

“In my role as Associate Health Minister, I recently spent a day at the specialist Drug Court in Auckland, which impressed me greatly, and persuaded me of the real value of specialist courts like that, and the Youth Court.

“I hope New Zealand will heed the Children’s Commissioner’s call, and move quickly to lift the Youth Court age to 18,” he says.