Chris Hipkins acknowledges unconscious bias in the police, but not institutional racism

Chris Hipkins believes there is unconscious bias within the New Zealand Police but doesn't accept there is institutional racism.

In an interview with The Hui, the new Police Minister told Mihingarangi Forbes he believes there will be unconscious bias within police, within education and across a whole lot of areas.

When asked if the police institution was racist, he said it was a broad cross section of New Zealand society and if we look at the history of New Zealand society, there have been practices, views and attitudes in the past that don’t reflect the type of society we aspire to today. 

Police Review

An independent review launched last year, The Understanding Policing Delivery Project, has found police have inherited a legacy of eurocentralism and white supremacy that can lead to Māori being over represented in the criminal justice system.

The review’s lead panellist, Sir Kim Workman, has commended police for the lengths the agency has going in addressing issues of bias.

Hipkins said right the way across the Government, Māori have worse outcomes including in education and health.  He said all of those things cumulatively point to major challenges that have to be addressed.

He said it is unfair to place that responsibility solely on the police.

Chris Hipkins.
Chris Hipkins. Photo credit: The Hui


Hipkins told The Hui his priorities were addressing public safety concerns, the increase in gang-related activity and high profile youth offending. He said the firearms reform, which is currently going through Parliament, is going to make a difference.

He said currently the police are working on making sure their systems, processes and practices align with a 21st century approach but warned it won't happen overnight.

Watch the full interview above

The Hui is made with support from Te Māngai Pāho and the Public Interest Journalism Fund.