I watched a current affairs program on TVNZ, this morning.. another report has come out, about the disproportionate arrest/incarceration rate of indigenous Maori. A maori lawyer & a maori opposition MP discussed the issues, followed by a ‘panel of experts’. The following issues were mentioned:
1) NZ Police (majority are non-maori/’pakeha’ NZers) tend to target young maori ‘offenders’.. often driving without a license etc. This is often seen as ‘racist’, by many.. but not all
2) many young maori in the criminal justice system, are ‘functionally illiterate‘ having failed in an education system, set up by ‘European NZ’
3) most of the ‘Gangs of Aotearoa’ are run by maori (widely funded by the illegal drug trade). This often results in an inter-generational indoctrination into these gangs. This then leads many down a path to prison
4) the ‘controls’ of the NZ corrections/prison system is also dominated by ‘non-maori’. Often imposing their believes/standards on ‘all offenders’.. one size fits all/one law for all. This has been seen, to have failed in Australia (aborigines) & in USA (african-americans) etc. etc.
5) there have been calls for ‘maori prisons’ run by ‘maori elders’ to give an alternative approach & attempt to reduce re-offending
6) the focus of ‘drug offending’ needs to move from criminal justice to education & health, rather than ‘lock ’em all up !’. NZ having amongst the highest arrest/incarceration rates in the world, for these ‘offences’.
7) one of the commentators said the report, may be full of ‘good intention’ but would likely be ignored, just as many previous ones, going back decades
** The main point to my mind, ‘power brokers in Aotearoa/NZ’ still taking the ZERO-tolerance approach to DRUGS.. still seeing the WAR on DRUGS as a valid option to ‘solve it’.. even though many other OECD countries are now looking beyond this. Methinks that NZ is ‘a small country at the bottom of the world, with an equally small-minded approach to illegal drugs’ (mostly cannabis & meth/P); ZERO-tolerance ONLY !!! 😦
It’s time to “GROW UP folks”