The New Zealand Parole Board was established on 30 June 2002 and is governed by the Parole Act.
The Board is an independent statutory body, chaired by Sir Ron Young, and comprises about 40 members.
A quarter are current or former judges who act as panel convenors, and the rest are community members.
The Board holds thousands of hearings a year, and considers a wide variety of information as part of its decision-making.
The most important consideration for the Board is community safety. By law, the Board must decide that the offender does not pose an 'undue risk' to the safety of the community before parole can be granted.
In assessing undue risk, the Board must consider both the likelihood of further offending and the nature and seriousness of any subsequent offending.
Having decided that the offender no longer poses an undue risk, the Board must direct a release on parole.
There are a number of other principles in the Parole Act which the Board must take into account when making its decisions:
- That offenders must not be detained any longer than is consistent with the safety of the community.
- That offenders must not be subject to release conditions that are more onerous, or last longer, than is consistent with the safety of the community.
- That offenders must be provided with information about decisions that concern them, and be advised how they may participate in decision-making that directly concerns them.
- That the rights of victims are upheld, and that victims submissions and any restorative justice outcomes are given due weight.
- That decisions must be made on the basis of all the relevant information that is available to the Board.