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They always put us in Jail.

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They always put us in Jail.
WILLIE JACKSON 

It was with the usual weary resignation that I heard of the decision to put Sir Ngatata Love in jail for defrauding his tribe. Love can’t have many supporters because I have been waiting for over a week now for someone to stick up for him. Do we really have to jail an 80 year old man in failing health who is no danger to the community?

I don’t condone for a second Love stealing 1.5 million from his tribe, which incidentally, is my tribe too. In fact I find his behaviour reprehensible and a terrible example of self-entitlement and arrogance. So I don’t believe he should have been let off, he deserves the humiliation he has gone through and they should probably look at taking his knighthood off him.

But jailing Love is one step too far. Justice Lang said for more than 40 years Love had devoted himself selflessly to Maori development and said he was an inspirational leader in Maoridom. He was the go to man for former Prime Minister Helen Clark on Maori issues and had been generally recognised as not only an exemplary Maori leader but a great New Zealander. Yet Judge Lang didn’t worry about any of that when he decided to send him to jail.

Think about that for a minute and compare that to some of the idiotic decisions that have been handed out recently from judges. No jail time for a rich-listers kid who beat a policewoman senseless, no jail time for a man who took to his wife with a hammer and no jail time for a young Wellington man who assaulted four people because his rugby career might have been affected. And when prominent Pakeha leaders Sir Douglas Graham and Bill Jeffries got into big trouble a couple of years back the judge went out of his way to make sure they didn’t go inside.

Love spent his life contributing to his country but gets thrown in jail instead of a more reasonable punishment like home detention.

But then no one should be surprised by these sorts of decisions should they? Maori always get prison time. Former MP Donna Awatere Huata went to jail for taking only 80k, we have had recent examples of Maori going to jail for stealing fish for their family and too many Maori are in jail for minor offences like not paying their fines.

Government now have indisputable facts and reports that tell them that Maori are six times more liable to go to jail than Pakeha. They must find a way to deal with a system that actively discriminates against us because if a Maori knight is so easily sent to jail then what chance does your average Maori really have under this countries justice system?

 

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