June 29, 2023
Essential Māori part of the oversight of prisons, Minister Davis
From Te Whare Paremata
The Minister of Corrections says it’s essential Māori form part of the oversight of prisons given the number of whānau behind the wire.
The Minister is responding to calls for a ministerial advisory board to oversee Corrections in light of a scathing report from the Chief Ombudsman into the running of prisons. The Ombudsman’s report, ‘Kia Whaitake-Making a Difference’, follows repeated calls for improvements in the way prisoners are treated.
An area of concern for the Ombudsman included a lack of cultural competency and capability across the Department to work in partnership with Māori.
Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says a ministerial advisory board is worth thinking about but he prefers to see more implementation of ideas at local level, and he’s adamant Māori play a key role in monitoring and oversight.
“Absolutely, I think that it’s essential that given over half the population is Māori that we have tangatawhenua involved in the monitoring functions.
“Since 2017, Corrections has received from all the monitoring groups close to 3000 recommendations of which over 80% have been completed, the one’s they haven’t completed they’re still working on.” says Minister Davis.
The catalyst for the Omudsman’s investigation was the 2020-2021 riots at Waikeria Prison.
He is also recommending that the Corrections Act 2004 and the Corrections Regulations 2005 are reviewed to make sure Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and relevant international human rights obligations such as the Mandela Rules, are given greater emphasis.