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Maori Wardens Good For Communities

Media Release

4 April 2008

Maori Wardens Good For Communities

New Zealand First congratulates the success of an ACC initiative where Maori Wardens played a crucial role in reducing alcohol-fuelled disturbances and calls for more of these community-based initiatives to be adopted across New Zealand.

“The positive results of the Hamilton initiative highlight not only the essential role that Maori Wardens play, but also the growing respect that they have within the community,” says Maori Affairs spokesperson Pita Paraone.

”We need to build on this success and push for further projects which allow the Maori Wardens to fully support their communities, in particular Maori youth. The Hamilton project is proof that the Maori Wardens have the ability to tackle and, in many cases, succeed in reducing potentially violent situations where the police have failed.

“I am, however, appalled to hear that the Maori Wardens involved in this initiative now have to dig into their own pockets to fund their work because the project has ended. In light of New Zealand ranking highly in an international crime survey last month, we should be encouraging successful schemes like this instead of knocking them down.

“New Zealand First has always supported the Maori Wardens and our Confidence and Supply agreement with the Labour Government succeeded in last year’s $2.5 million of funding for capacity building, with guaranteed funding beyond 2008.

“We will certainly be looking into this matter to see if the Maori Wardens in Hamilton can get further funding to continue their important work,” said Mr Paraone.


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