Press Release – New Zealand First Party
“We all know that the Maori warden movement started because of the exodus of young Maori to the cities, starting in the 1950s and continuing since then. EMBARGOED AGAINST DELIVERY until 12.30pm
Rt. Hon Winston Peters
Leader NZ First
Address: New Zealand Maori Wardens Association
Date: November 112011
Venue: Dargaville Town Hall,
Extracts from a Speech
‘NZ First to Boost Maori Warden Funding’
“We all know that the Maori warden movement started because of the exodus of young Maori to the cities, starting in the 1950s and continuing since then.
“The wardens were chosen for their integrity, their community spirit and their compassion and love for their young people.
“Your strength was moral – you were not police – and you concentrated on preventing trouble and guiding young people away from potential trouble spots.
In many ways you stood in the shoes of absent parents and the wider family.
“You have been part of Maori communities and you know what happens in your communities. If someone goes off the rails or a family is in trouble, a Maori warden is often the first person to reach out with helping hands.
“In 2005 when New Zealand First negotiated a supply agreement with Labour, crime was getting out of control so we took two steps to put the lid on it.
“First we got an extra 1,000 front line police on the streets and gave them over 235 back up staff on top of that.
Then we turned to the group of crime preventers that had been sadly neglected for many decades and gave them the tools to do their work.
“We provided proper funding, vehicles, technology and other equipment so that these loyal volunteers could get out into their communities and go for the trouble spots.
We sought the help of the Maori Wardens and you responded.
“The result has been a drop in crime in many parts of New Zealand where you operate and for that I want to say thank you and to announce today that we want you to extend your work – not cut it back.
“This is not a race-based movement. Your work extends into many other areas such as crowd and traffic control and your assistance to local authorities. You are a force for good and your great strength is that you are volunteers.
“Crime is crime. It cuts across all communities and your unsung work makes these communities safer. It is remarkably cost effective, not only in preventing trouble but you also keep a lot of young men and women out of the prison system and help them to make better decisions about their lives.
“You don’t have to go very far North from this township to Kaikohe to see how society deals with crime here – it simply builds another prison. You can help empty these prisons. For this we are grateful and we will show this with extra funding.”
We made a commitment in 2005 and persuaded government to support a five year budget to back it up. Since 2008 that commitment has not been honored. Today I tell you that in the next three years it will be. I don’t expect you to trust my words I expect you to trust my record.
New Zealand First will restore funding for Maori wardens as you are an integral part of crime prevention in many parts of the country.
Your valuable work risks being chopped off at the knees because of thoughtless cost cutting. I’m asking you today to remove that risk for your peoples and for your country’s sake.