How the world sees NZ and Maori

Al Jazeera has run a documentary about Maori “warriors” in prison

We need to start having an honest discussion about those who are committing violent crimes in New Zealand, without the discussion being hijacked by people that Thomas Sowell describes as “race-hustlers”.

One thing for sure we shouldn’t do is listen to crim-hugging drop kick Kim Workman who appears in this documentary.

New Zealand ranks as one of the world’s most peaceful countries in the Global Peace Index every year. Yet despite a strong reputation for social justice and equality, the South Pacific nation has the second highest rate of imprisonment rates in the western world.

In the past two decades, the jail population has doubled. One international study examining law and order across western nations attributes it to a “tough on crime” approach by New Zealand’s political parties since the 1980’s, even though crime rates are low.?

Today each prisoner costs on average $94,000 to lock up and the current government has described New Zealand’s prison problem as a moral and fiscal failure.

Making sure the punishment fits the crime is a widely debated subject in New Zealand but what is undeniable is the gross overrepresentation of minorities in jails.

One in two prisoners is indigenous Maori even though they only account for just 15 percent of the population. Maori are overrepresented in all sectors of the criminal justice system due to soaring rates of child poverty, school dropout, unemployment and family breakdown within indigenous communities.

Many say going to prison has become normalised in Maori society because every child has a relative who is locked up. They also claim that government agencies are failing the children of Maori prisoners, leaving them vulnerable to becoming a new generation of offenders.

Gang affiliations also play their part, providing surrogate families to disenfranchised youth. Since the 1960’s, young Maori have joined the ranks of patched gangs like the Mongrel Mob and Black Power who were modelled on US bikie gangs like the Hells Angels.

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