July 11, 2018
Māori Wardens suitable for diversion
New Zealand Māori Council chair Sir Taihākurei Durie wants a greater role for Māori wardens in alternative forms of justice.
Sir Taihākurei says increasing the role of Māori committees and wardens in community development is one of the aims of the new council, which has just finished its triennial elections.
He says a lot of work was done over the past three years to give the wardens some operational autonomy, but they must continue to be accountable to their communities through the council .
They can't become junior police officers, but they can act as a bridge between communities and police on kaupapa like restorative justice.
"I would like to actually see the wardens have a direct role in police diversion and those types of schemes that prevent our people being put through the court system. Māori are more than seven times more likely to be arrested and charged than a European committing the same offence," Sir Taihākurei Durie says.
He says if some wardens continue to push for a split, they would need to spell out who they are accountable to.
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