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Māori Party says apology is a step in the right direction

Māori Party says apology is a step in the right direction


The Māori Party says the apology yesterday to the people of Rūatoki at Te Rewarewa Marae by Police Commissioner Mike Bush is a step in the right direction in bringing a sense of peace between the Tūhoe people and the New Zealand Police.

“It was an emotionally charged day for Tūhoe. The events of 2007 when the police unlawfully searched and detained people in the Rūatoki Valley, including children and elders, is still cause for much pain,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

“The attendance of elders from other tribes such as Kihi Ngatai, Sir Toby Curtis and Apirana Mahuika is a signal of the widespread support from many Iwi for Tūhoe and the significance of the importance of the apology.”

“Apologies are an important part of paving the way to move forward. But with the apology also comes the absolute need to improve the relationship between Māori and the Police – and equally as important to ensure that our systems of justice change the way they deal with Māori. Currently all the statistics and research show that there is a clear bias against Māori. Māori are more likely to be arrested, charged and imprisoned than non-Māori – and that has got to stop.”

“A major review of the justice system is long overdue. This is a vital next step. Police need to be respected for the important job that they do but are not above the law and need to be held to account when their actions impinge on the rights of citizens. We will continue to push for a review of the justice system because there must be justice for all groups in our country – not just those who can pay for the best lawyers or use undue influence to avoid criminal prosecution.”

ENDS


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