Justice Minister Andrew Little wants Māori to gain more authority in tackling their & # 39; awful & # 39; overrepresentation in prisons.
Māori represent 16 percent of the total population, but represent 51 percent of the prisoners – and for women this increases to two thirds of the prisoners.
Mr. Little told it Morning report The Criminal Justice Summit of this week in Porirua had made a difference.
He said that a number of Māori who were at the top would now come together to find solutions.
"They have amazing ideas … I want it to come from them, so we really show partnership, state and Māori, to really make a difference in that system."
He said that Māori who ended up in the system was usually disconnected from their hapu, Iwi, and often their whanau.
"It goes to that fundamental question that Māori asks himself:" Who are you? "When Māori perpetrators can not answer that question because they do not know what their tīpuna is, they do not know where they come from, where their ancestors came from, the area that affected who they are.
"[When] you begin to deal with that and you restore identity and you restore mana. So many people on the front line tell me the difference that makes for that person who rehabilitates. "
He said the government was determined to change and to face the political headwind to make that difference.
"First, however, we want to get the conversation going, we want to accept that there are problems and that they are problems that can be resolved before we make detailed plans."
Anzac Wallace, who spent time within 43 years, works for the Manakau Urban Māori Authority and said there was a lack of representation at the top.
"We were not honestly represented, really in the minority … it was frustrating," he said.
He said Māori had to find their own solutions and help to change attitudes in the community, in law and at a high level.
"Let's have that discussion" by Maori for Maori "we have the solutions we have tried to work, but we are shaken under the mat, we have great knowledge of our own people, but we can not hear that opinion."
Earlier this week, Minister Corvin Kelvin Davis told the summit, Māori must lead the change in the criminal justice system.
Mr. Wallace said that Mr. Davis was highly regarded by Māori and they supported him.
"I hope Corrections will not fool him … let him talk to us, bring those discussions back to his leaders.
"We have the confidence that Andrew Little is very sincere in his intent and I hope that the Labor Party will support him in this initiative to get us in the air and we can do it, we can do it, we do not have it had the opportunity to speak on behalf of our people, with input from the government, just give us a chance to do that. "
Stop criminalizing poverty
An advocate of the Māori Court said that much crime comes from poverty and a need for basic survival.
Laura O & # 39; Connell Rapira is the director of Action Station and said that some concrete ideas were heard at the top.
She said Morning report that some of the best ideas were raised by Judge Andrew Becroft, the child commissioner, who spoke about the link with poverty.
"First, much of what we are doing right now is criminalizing poverty, so a lot of actions have to do with basic survival, if you do not have enough money to fill your fridge and feed your kids, then maybe resorting to crime a rational response.If we want to change this seriously, we need to implement a policy that allows families to have enough income, "said O'Connell Rapira.
"The Crown also needs to work more efficiently with Iwi and Hapu and also allocate the power and resources to Māori in order to be able to set up our own alternatives to the current legal system to provide for our own people."
Judge Andrew Becroft told the top that early intervention was a key, and Ms. O & # 39; Connell Rapira said she would have liked more input at the top of young people.
Although the top was heartwarming, she said that there were many ideas that her & # 39; whole life & # 39; had shared.
"You know the groundbreaking reports … we have known these things for a long time and what was missing was the political courage to take action."
Building huge prisons contradicts the goal
Criminologist Greg Newbold said the government had to start building prisons to stop double bunking because rehabilitation was more difficult when prisoners had to share cells.
Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, acknowledged that double bunking itself was an obstacle to effective rehabilitation, but the government would not build billions of prisons.
"Given our goal of reducing the prison population with more effective means of dealing with perpetrators, it is hardly logical to build more prisons, since the first one we were eligible for, cost about a billion dollars.
"We want to try to find effective solutions … when 60 percent of detainees relapses within two years of release, it says we can do something better.
"If we connect ourselves to building only more prisons and billions of dollars for building prisons … we lose sight of what we are actually trying to achieve, namely by changes in police methods, by changes in what we do in the courts, and the early stages of insulting by what we do in prisons, trying to reduce recidivism rates … and actually not letting so many people go to prisons. "