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New family violence offences, tougher penalties coming

A widespread review of family violence laws and procedures will likely include a new class of criminal offences, the Justice Minister says.

Amy Adams, speaking with Q+A, said a document would be released on Wednesday outlining the review and discussing steps which could be taken to curb New Zealand's high domestic violence rates.

Ms Adams said about 44% of all police time was spent on domestic violence.

"I don't think New Zealanders want to live in a country where half of all our homicides are from someone you love," she said.

"These figures are too high."

Among likely measures are a new class of criminal offences to reflect the family nature of the crime, and provide a higher level of culpability.

Reclassifying family violence charges away from standard assault, homicide of sexual assaults would aid in the tracking of family violence statistics in New Zealand.

The wider justice system was also being looked at in terms of double ups and inefficiencies, Ms Adams said, as the current system involved "a number of agencies jumping in and out of bits of it without any cohesion."

Ms Adams said there would not be any changes around burden of proof - the "innocent until proven guilty" system would remain in place in all cases.

A discussion document around the legislation and systems addressing family violence is due out this week.

About $1.4 billion budgeted for justice each year in New Zealand, and Ms Adams said the review would also be looking at where money was being spent, and whether it was being spent well.

The Justice Minister is promising a crackdown on family violence.