The New Zealand Parole Board (the Board) was established on 30 June 2002, under the Parole Act 2002. The Board is an independent statutory body, currently chaired by Hon. Warwick Gendal QC. The Board at present has 45 members, about half are judges while the rest are non-judicial members. Vacancies on the Board are advertised, with the appointment of new members managed by the Ministry of Justice. All members are appointed by the Governor-General, on recommendation of the Attorney General.
Under the Parole Act, the Attorney-General must be satisfied members have:
The Board sits in panels of at least three members to consider cases either in person at one of the country's prisons or by video conference.
The Parole Act 2002 requires the Board to consider cases where offenders are eligible for release on parole, compassionate release and release at their statutory or final release date. It also considers cases where either the Department of Corrections or Police have applied to have an offender, released on parole, recalled to prison. An offender on parole can have their progress monitored by the Board.
The Board does not consider the release of an offender on a short-term prison sentence, of two years or less, unless an application for compassionate release is make to the chairperson.
New Zealand Parole Board administration
The Department of Corrections, under section 110 of the Parole Act, is required to ensure that the Board is provided with administration and training support.
The Board's administration is based in Wellington. The team of administrators are responsible for providing all the background information to members for upcoming hearings, as well as the preparation for hearings.