Today’s report from the Waitangi Tribunal is a wake-up call about National’s failure to tackle Māori overrepresentation in the justice system, the Green Party said today.
The Tribunal found the Department of Corrections in breach of the Treaty principles of equity and active protection because of an insufficient focus on Māori reoffending, and has recommended urgent reforms.
“What we are seeing is more evidence of a Government which is content with doing the bare minimum. Today’s findings from the Tribunal should put National on notice,” said Green Party justice spokesperson David Clendon.
“Over the past few years, the overrepresentation of Māori in the justice system has worsened.
“The Government’s failure to do enough about this has had a devastating impact on whanau, hapu and iwi, and it will continue to affect the 10,000 Māori children who currently have a parent in prison.
“The Tribunal’s report makes clear that Corrections’ plan to reduce Māori offending had no targets, was not measurable and did not achieve meaningful change.
“Even the new Safer Communities package has failed to commit new funding to specifically addressing Māori offending rates.
“One off initiatives with no guaranteed long term investment are unhelpful and sometimes even counter-productive in the absence of a long term strategy.
“We are calling for the urgent implementation of the Tribunal’s recommendations. Failure to act now will have devastating consequences for Māori and their families in the long term,” said Mr Clendon.