Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said yesterday the changes would not discriminate against lower income defendants, because anyone could still get family or friends to speak about their circumstances in court.
However, criminologist and Section 27 report writer Dr Juan Tauri disagreed, saying lawyers would still get reports written for some clients: “Those who can afford them – which will not be working class or poor Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika.”
Bar Association criminal committee co-chairperson Rachael Reed KC said the reports allowed judges to consider the appropriate sentence, chances of successful rehabilitation and what support was available to achieve this.
“Currently, offenders who qualify for legal aid can apply for funding for the preparation of a report. The government has announced that it is introducing legislation to prevent legal aid from being used to pay for these reports,” she said.