Maori Party Calls For Review Of Justice System

Press Release – The Maori Party

Dr Pita Sharples, MP for Tamaki Makaurau Co-leader of the Maori Party Saturday 1 October 2011 Embargoed until 11am The Maori Party has announced a full review of the justice system, which it says systematically discriminates against Maori, as …Dr Pita Sharples, MP for Tamaki Makaurau
Co-leader of the Maori Party
Saturday 1 October 2011

Embargoed until 11am

The Maori Party has announced a full review of the justice system, which it says systematically discriminates against Maori, as a key election policy.

Speaking at the launch of his election campaign in Tamaki Makaurau today, Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples said the justice system must encompass te ao Maori, tikanga Maori and matauranga Maori – the principles and practices of Maori justice.

“For most Māori, justice in New Zealand is not positive; it is a system that is unfair, biased and prejudiced. The justice system, including the police, courts and corrections, systematically discriminates against Māori,” said Dr Sharples.

“Maori offenders are more likely to have police contact; to be charged; to lack legal representation; not to be granted bail; to plead guilty; to be convicted; to be sentenced to non-monetary penalties; and to be denied release to home detention.

“In being guided by He Whaipaanga Hou, written by Moana Jackson, we must begin with restructuring the Justice system upon the basis of the Treaty of Waitangi and the foundation of partnership.

“We understand that this systematic transformation will take time, so in the meantime the Māori Party will advance the following policies:
– We will throw out the three-strikes legislation
– We will extend Whare Oranga Ake to every prison site
– We will initiate Computers in Cells to foster literacy and numeracy
– We will reintroduce preferred lawyer status—legal aid
– We will shut down the Independent Police Conduct Authority, and establish an Anti-Corruption Commission.

Dr Sharples also announced that the Māori Party will expand Māra Kai and provide support for gardens for co-op communities, schools, marae and whānau collectives right across Aotearoa;

“With commentators talking of second recession, the Māori Party wants to ensure that every whānau has access to kai. Food security should be the basis of any economic policy that allows communities to be nourished, healthy, resilient and self-sustainable,” he said.

“Māra Kai also lessen the impacts of natural disasters that wipe out crops, and of the current unstable global economy,” he said.

Dr Sharples also reiterated the party’s policy of extending cultural competency.

“Earlier this year we implemented a policy called Tataiako – cultural competency for teachers to improve educational achievement for our tamariki. Now we will extend that policy to cover every ministry and department across the whole of government – cultural competency for our public servants,” he said.

Authorised by Dr Pita Sharples, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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