The Government has moved to placate public concern over high risk sex offenders in the wake of Wanganui's on-going efforts to stop a notorious sex offender from moving into the community.
Justice Minister Judith Collins today announced a new Bill targeted at offenders who pose a high risk of sexual or violent offending once they are released from prison.
The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill will allow the High Court to order offenders to live in a secure facility within prison grounds until the Court is convinced they pose no threat to the community.
Offenders could potentially be under extended supervision for the rest of their lives.
"The safety of New Zealanders is paramount and it should not be jeopardised by a small number of offenders who continue to be a serious threat after they are released from prison," said Collins.
"PPOs are a new tool to deal with society's worst offenders in a way that current sentencing and release provisions, such as extended supervision orders and preventative detention, don't allow."
The introduction of the legislation comes less than a month after Wanganui Council were unsuccessful in trying to pursue a judicial review into the release of convicted sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson.
Wilson has been released into the grounds of Wanganui Prison in a self-care unit, while the Wanganui community continue to explore other legal options.
Collins said the legislation would mainly apply to child sex offenders with only five to 12 offenders likely to be subjected to a PPO over the next decade.
The conditions imposed can range from parole-style supervision through to an extensive supervision, where an individual is monitored and accompanied at all times.
Offenders will be able to seek a court review of their detention at any time.
Collins said the regime balances the rights of New Zealanders to be safe in their community with the rights of offenders who have served their sentence.
"The test for handing down an order will be high - there will be strong checks and balances to ensure orders are applied appropriately and reviewed regularly, and give offenders as many civil rights as practicable."
The legislation will come into effect in 2013.