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Ethnic targeting gone mad

3 August 2006

Media Release: Hone Harawira, Maori Party spokesperson for Justice

"This is ethnic targeting gone mad," said Hone Harawira, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau, in response to the plan to try to profile criminal kids before they're even born. [35 Steps to Reducing Prison Populations] "Mäori are already over-represented in arrest, court and prison statistics, so you can guarantee they are ones that will be targeted by this big-brother plan" said Mr Harawira.

"The logical result of following the 35 steps proposed in the new plan will be spying on mums in maternity wards "to identify at risk parents and babies", giving new mums a questionnaire, introducing a 'risk screen for young offenders'; or get this, spying on nightclubs and at school grounds in order to be "picking out the girls most likely to have sex at a young age". "The mentality of some people is staggering," said Harawira.

"This plan will mean more snooping, and more invasion, of already over-snooped Maori homes. Maori families will be stigmatised, Maori parents will react badly to the presence of more social police, and Maori mums will do a runner rather than put up with this foul-minded state snooping. Maori kids will grow up with shame and anger and hatred, and the cycle will be continued rather than broken by this lunacy" said Mr Harawira. "Can't anyone see that the snoop tactics don't work?

"Yes, there are problems within Maori society, and yes, we have to do something about it". "But let's look at some hard facts. Maori have been marginalised in this society. They suffer the highest unemployment, prison and truancy rates, they have poor health, they leave school early, society treats them like lepers, and then everyone wonders why they react so violently".

"The answer isn't in increasing social snooping, but in reducing it. Government needs to 'fess up to the fact that they have got no idea about what to do, and look to others who can. There are some really good operators already out there" said Mr Harawira. "We know that Maori committees acting voluntarily with no resources, and at great personal cost, already exist" stated Mr Harawira.

"The Government needs to urgently support those Maori groups who are in the community that we already trust. Empower the Maori Women's Welfare League, and back those aunties that everyone respects. Negotiate open-ended, properly funded contracts with strong Maori providers to deliver positive results, agree on deliverables, and then get out of the way".

"Could something go wrong? Hell yes !!! "But could it be any worse than now? No way !! "Drop the fixation with snooping, and let's get on with the business".

ENDS

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