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Government Maori Caucus Pushes For Change


Hon Parekura Horomia
Minister of Maori Affairs

16 August 2000
Media Statement


Government Maori Caucus Pushes For Change

The Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, and Government Maori MPs today extended their aroha to the family of Stephen Wallace, in the wake of the outcome of the police investigation into the tragedy at Waitara.

The MPs said that they remained shocked by what had happened and expect that police systems and processes will be urgently improved with a view to preventing such tragedies in the future.

"We are aware that the police fully review their procedures after all tragedies and we believe that this review must lead to changes."

There have been calls for some time for an independent inquiry. We are well aware that the police investigation and the Crown Law review of it are but one step in the process.

The next steps are the independent inquiries to be conducted by the Police Complaints Authority and the Coroner.

In our view it is now essential that the Police Complaints Authority conducts a full, open and extensive inquiry into the tragedy and enables Mr Wallace's family and lawyer to be fully involved in that.

Clearly this tragedy has focussed attention on the relationship which has existed between Maori communities and the police. It is in the interests of the whole country that the police have better relations with Maoridom.

We know that the new Police Commissioner, Mr Robinson, has stated his determination to build better relationships and, for our part, we want to give leadership to that too.

If there are still outstanding questions at the end of the Police Complaints Authority's inquiry, we expect that calls for another independent inquiry will be renewed.

ENDS

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