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Maori Party Stance On More Maori Police

9 November 2005

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party Wednesday

Maori Party Stance On More Maori Police

"While any efforts to create employment for our people are welcomed, the call for more Maori police will not create the long-term changes we seek in reducing offending" said Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party.

Mrs Turia was reacting to a statement from Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Long, who called for more Maori police to respond to so-called 'Maori offending' or 'Maori crime' at a national police hui. The NZ Police National Maori Responsiveness Conference: Ngakia Kia Puawai, is being held in Nelson and will end tomorrow, 10 November 2005.

"As a starter, there is no such thing as 'Maori offending'" said Mrs Turia. "Do we label crimes committed by other population groups as Pakeha offending, female offending, elderly offending, middle-class offending?"

" Perhaps a more appropriate goal is to consider reducing offending committed by Maori, rather than presuming there are certain types of offences which are categorised as 'Maori' or 'Pacific' crimes".

"The Maori Party calls for a fresh look at offending which creates real alternatives to resolve the issues before they reach the notice of the police".

"We have to ask, if people see hope in their future, will they offend? We all have stories to share, of how people have turned their lives around, because they saw a reason to change".

"Our best thinking must go into creating that reason - and our resources should be invested in the community - supporting our whanau to care for each other".

"The courageous actions taken by the Papamoa grandmother, Jane Pou in tracking down the offender who burgled her home, organising work in reparation for his offending, and hosting a community meeting of the neighbourhood to encourage them to act in taking responsibility for each other, is one such initiative".

The Maori Party has also consistently raised the issue of more support going to Maori wardens, to assist them in their key role responding to community crises before they get out of hand.
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"Other initiatives to reduce offending could include academies in focus areas of sports, drama, culture and the arts to provide positive options for rangatahi. The Maori Party will be developing proposals to present to relevant Ministers, to inspire further thinking about these ideas".

"Ultimately the best solution to reduce offending by Maori is to provide support to whanau, to resolve issues and restore well-being before crisis occurs. We are also firmly convinced that addressing poverty is a critical first step".

ENDS

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