Matthew Luke HODDER 16/04/2024

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

Matthew Luke HODDER

Hearing: 16 April 2024

at Otago Corrections Facility via Ms Teams

Members of the Board:

Ms M More – Panel Convenor

Mr G Coyle

Judge C Blackie

Counsel: Ms S Baird – On Behalf of Mr P Hamlin

In Attendance: [withheld] - Case Manager

Support Persons: [withheld]


  1. Matthew Luke Hodder is 33, he makes his first appearance on a sentence of four years two months for possession for supply of cocaine.  Mr Hodder is an Australian citizen, he met his co-offender in New Zealand at Queenstown Airport, and they drove to Dunedin where they attempted to recover cocaine from the hull of a ship in Port Chalmers.  Unknown to Mr Hodder law enforcement in Philadelphia USA were aware of the offending and had already intervened.  Mr Hodder was being watched by the New Zealand Police.
  2. The judge’s sentencing notes refer to 91 kilograms of cocaine and comment that the harm to the community would be immense.
  3. The judge referred to an alcohol and drug assessment, letters of support from [withheld], and that his lawyer submitted that he suffered from extreme addiction and [withheld].
  4. The provision of Advice to the Court said that Mr Hodder was battling alcohol addiction and his [withheld] was compromised and described the offending as a mistake. [withheld].
  5. Mr Hodder has no offending history in New Zealand and advises that he has no offending history in Australia.  However, the parole assessment report said that he is wanted for multiple charges in Australia including driving under the influence, driving while over 0.5 per cent, exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol, careless driving and failing to give way.
  6. Mr Hodder is represented by Mr Hamlin; Ms Baird appears on instructions.  Mr Hamlin in written submissions asks the Board to release Mr Hodder, he referred to him having undertaken an alcohol and drug programme on remand with [withheld], being six two-hour sessions.  Counsel said that he has contacted [withheld] but is yet to confirm acceptance into that programme.  Counsel said that Mr Hodder is unsuitable for reintegration because he has been served with a deportation order.
  7. In oral submissions Ms Baird said that the [withheld] referral has yet to be completed, further information is required and there is a process in Australia in terms of assessment that is unable to be done in New Zealand.  Counsel said the referral is active and open, she referred to Mr Hodder’s risk being low, and to the extensive whānau support he has.
  8. Counsel asks the Board to release Mr Hodder on parole for deportation, or to see him again in three months, so that the assessment for [withheld] could take place.
  9. Mr Hodder told the Board that the offending came about because he had spiralled into alcohol abuse following financial concerns with his business.  He said it was well known on the building site on which he was working that he was in financial trouble, and he was approached and offered $50,000 for what turned out to be the index offence.  He said at the time he thought it was security on a boat, and later came to realise that he had to dive under the boat in New Zealand to retrieve something.  On questioning he accepted that he knew that he was engaging in criminal activity.
  10. The Board considered Counsel’s submissions.  We are not prepared to release him simply into the care of [withheld] and possibility of residential rehabilitation in Melbourne.  Neither are we going to stand him down for three months for the assessment of the [withheld] programme.
  11. The Board is concerned that if Mr Hodder was released to the community of Australia without rehabilitation, he would essentially be released as an untreated offender.  We are conscious that the case of Va’alele v New Zealand Parole Board requires us to consider the safety of the community of Australia when considering release.[1]
  12. In the absence of any rehabilitation we are also conscious that if we did release Mr Hodder to Australia, we would be unable to impose the special conditions we normally consider when looking at alternative treatment programmes (alternative to that which is available in prison) to ensure that any proposed programmes actually took place to mitigate residual risk.
  13. Mr Hodder has been offered the Dependency Treatment Programme.  It is the six-month programme commencing at Christchurch Men’s Prison in November 2024.  We see that as the best pathway forward for him.
  14. Without that rehabilitation, Mr Hodder’s risk is undue, parole is declined.
  15. We will see Mr Hodder again in 12 months, that is April 2025.

Ms M More

Panel Convenor