21 Aug 2007

Cook Islands wants juvenile delinquents to remain in New Zealand

2:49 pm on 21 August 2007

The Cook Islands government says it doesn't want any more juvenile delinquents sent from New Zealand to Rarotonga because of the problems they're causing.

The Minister of Justice, Tangata Vavia, says although their parents may have been born in the Cook Islands, the youth were born and raised in New Zealand and the issue should be dealt with there.

Mr Vavia, who's in Wellington with a Cook Islands delegation, says they would like to look at having some sort of red flag issued to police to inform them of juveniles' records because the first they know is when they're out on the streets, committing crimes.

He says they can't stop them from being sent back but they want to let the agencies, and also the parents, know that they don't want the problem exported.

"Where an opportunity arises, with the parents, where they might rehabilitate their kids and if it is to return them back home, then they'll do that. but, they bring them back home and they become the ringleaders of smaller criminals and we don't like it."

Mr Vavia says they are looking at setting up a facility but it would probably only have room for one juvenile delinquent.