Maori Party: Locking more criminals up won’t solve anything. Whaleoil: Oh yes it will

A group of Māori and Pacific community leaders and service providers met in Panmure on Wednesday, 13th September, 2017. At this fono they agreed that something radical had to be done to overhaul our Justice system in Aotearoa. A system that incarcerates Māori at alarmingly higher rates compared to others. Over 60% of the prison population are Polynesians. Yet Māori only make up around 15% and Pacific 7% of the general population. He believes that the Justice system is broken and unfairly targets Māori and Pacific.

Manase believes he has a proven model that aligns with the social investment approach that could change the system. Manase says, “It’s very clear that neither National nor Labour know what they are doing in this area. They have no new ideas on how to solve it. Both think building more prisons and running more programmes in the prisons is the answer. This is not the answer.

The answer lies in tackling the issue along the entire continuum. That is from prevention through to rehabilitation, with a focus on restorative justice and via full community wrap-around services that are fully funded. This is the key to solving the issue. The Government spends around $120,000 on each of its more than 10,000 prisoners. That’s around $1.2 billion or more a year. Money that could be better spent to prevent criminal activity, address the drivers of crime (i.e. poverty) and overhaul an unjust and unfair Justice system.

During his time at the Ministry of Health leading the Pacific disability programme from 2002 to 2007, Manase was the architect of the Lu’i Ola interagency plan. A programme involving 12 different Government Agencies, DHBs and local government. The mechanics behind Lu’i Ola and particularly the Access Project in Mangere, helped to influence the development of the Whānau Ora programme. Manase believes a similar approach could be used together with One Pacific’s TaTupu approach and Whānau Ora to tackle this complex issue across the whole community.

I find the logic rather simple to follow. You tell people that if they do this, then they will end up in prison.  When they do this, you send them to prison.  That solves everything.

I’m OK with the idea of other people wanting to analyse how to stop people from doing this in the first place.  I’m also happy with people wanting to work on making sure they don’t do this again once out.

But what I cannot abide is this idea that we don’t lock people up because “it’s not working”.  It’s working very well!  The more people that do this that are locked up, the better.

It’s not rocket surgery:  Just don’t do this.

End of discussion.    The rest of it are just troughers looking for money to snort out of the taxpayers’ pockets.  Not saying their intent is wrong, or their hearts are black and cynical, but allowing people to do this and not locking them up simply isn’t an answer.


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