East Urges Greater Partnership In Dealing With Maori Crime

  • Paul East

Attorney General and Minister of Corrections, Paul East, while rejecting calls for a separate Maori justice system, said he strongly supported the Maori community becoming more involved in addressing Maori offending.

"There is tremendous scope for a greater partnership between Maori and the Corrections system. Partnership is a more workable model than separate legal systems.

"We already have organisations such as Mahi Tahi providing intensive programmes to Maori inmates and Te Ihi Tu Trust and The Waiperiera Trust operating Maori-focussed Habilitation Centres. The Department of Corrections is also working on a number of innovative initiatives for Maori offenders," said Mr East.

Mr East said he had serious concerns about establishing a separate ethnically-based, legal system.

"This could lead to discrepancies in sentencing and have a debilitating effect on race relations," said Mr East.

"Dealing with Maori offending is a priority for the Government," said Mr East, "But so too is maintaining the integrity of our legal system."