“Today and every day we stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family, friends and community who feel pain and fear about his untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis police”, said Green Party Co-leader and Māori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson.
“We acknowledge the broader exasperation and anger of black and brown communities in the US who have lost yet another life to systemic racism. Let us not forget that Ahmaud Arbery, another black man, was recently shot whilst running in Georgia.
“These deaths occur within a justice system with a deeply imbedded culture of systemic racism and violence. These deaths are built on centuries of injustices and social inequities.
“The disease of state based discrimination is not constrained to American borders. We must acknowledge that here in New Zealand, at every single step of the justice system, Māori face increased discrimination”, Green Party Justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said.
“This means that Māori experience more arrests, more prosecutions, longer jail sentences, more brutality, and deaths, than Pākehā in similar circumstances.
“As a nation, we must collectively come together and reflect on how we build a new normal where all New Zealanders are treated equally and with respect”, Marama Davidson said.
“We must be actively working to see how we can create a justice system that all New Zealanders trust. Part of this process is decreasing the ability for police to be armed with deadly firearms.
“Armed police officers were recently trialled, in areas with predominantly Māori, Pasifika, and lower socio-economic communities. During this time tensions escalated in the area.
“The Green Party, Māori leaders and the local community all raised concerns during this trial. As a mother with Māori teenagers living in a trial area I genuinely feared for the safety of my two sons.
“The police are now evaluating this trial and recommendations will soon be taken to the public for consultation. I urge the community to speak out strongly against further implementation of this trial when that opportunity arrives, while we push to demilitarise our police force from within government”, Golriz Ghahraman said.
“The death of George Floyd is being felt around the world, encapsulating raw injustice that comes from centuries of oppression. We must learn from his death and prioritise the work to eliminate systemic racism from our police and justice systems. This is an essential step towards keeping our communities safer.”