Porirua-based criminal lawyer Craig Smith, was a speaker on day one of the TacklingPovertyNZ workshop in December 2015. You can watch the video on the McGuinness Institute’s YouTube channel, or you can view the video below.

Craig gave the group an insight into his work, which ranges from jury trials to youth court work. He explained the heart of the youth court system was the Family Group Conference. Craig posed the question ‘does the youth court work with these kids?’ He said he thinks the youth court is effective in the Porirua area because of two main factors – systems and good people. Craig emphasised the importance of continuity and a collaborative approach between youth advocates, the Police Youth Aid team, and social workers. Craig left the group with two practical solutions: mentors for young persons and assistance for drug and alcohol abuse.

About TackingPovertyNZ
The December 2015 TacklingPovertyNZ workshop brought together 36 young New Zealanders between the ages 18 and 25 to prepare a youth perspective on the issue of poverty in New Zealand and how we might, as a country, go about tackling it. Participants spent most of their 72 hours in Wellington working hard at Treasury, in order to present their findings to MPs and other guests at the finale presentation at Parliament on Wednesday, 9 December 2015. Every year, the McGuinness Institute has worked in collaboration with the New Zealand Treasury to create a collaborative space for young New Zealanders to explore complex public policy issues together. The workshops have always proved exciting, enjoyable and insightful. The McGuinness Institute would particularly like to thank the staff at the New Zealand Treasury for their continued support and encouragement.

2016 Workshop tour
On 29 March 2016 we began our TacklingPovertyNZ tour in Queenstown with a group of local participants. Later this year we will continue the tour of one-day workshops around the country. Our aim is to contribute to a national conversation about how New Zealand might tackle poverty. After each workshop we will prepare a discussion paper to map local issues and to explore ideas participants developed throughout the day. In addition to being available to the public, each discussion paper will be given to the Chief Economist of the New Zealand Treasury.

The next stop on the TacklingPovertyNZ tour is tentatively booked for Rotorua on 19 August 2016. We are currently in discussion with other regional councils including Far North, Gisborne and Manawatu. If you are interested in being involved in your constituency’s local tour, or nominating local participants, please contact us at tacklingpovertynz@mcguinnessinstitute.org.