Police Minister Ginny Andersen attacks New Zealand's prison system, says it's no place for Māori offenders

The Police Minister has attacked the country's prison system as a failure, saying it's no place for Māori offenders.

It comes as the Government on Friday kicked off the multi-million-dollar extension of Te Pae Oranga, a scheme where offenders are placed before community panels instead of the courts.

"It's a sad indictment on our justice system that the best way to help te iwi Māori is to keep them out of our justice system," Police Minister Ginny Aderson said.

The Labour minister even sang from a former National Prime Minister's song sheet.

"I agree with the words of Bill English that our prison system is a moral and fiscal failure," she said. "It costs New Zealanders far more in taxpayer money - we should put our efforts into making sure people never need to go there in the first place."

And that's where Te Pae Oranga fits in, with the police and ministers on Friday welcomed onto Huntly's Waahi Marare - the latest site to host an iwi-led community panel that offenders can be referred to instead of court.

Ginny Andersen.
Ginny Andersen. Photo credit: Newshub.

"Right now, we are seeing a spike in crime, particularly youth offending - and that really worries me," Anderson said. "But this is no time to turn away, this is time to work even harder and closely together." 

But some aren't buying it.

"It's a classic example of the Government putting the emphasis on the offenders, almost treating them like victims, while not showing concern for those that really are the victims," ACT Party leader David Seymour said.

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