Sunday September 24, 2017   Last updated 00:54AM

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What does Labour fear from a Maori Prison?

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What does Labour fear from a Maori Prison?

The negative reaction by Andrew Little and the Labour leadership at the suggestion of Maori prisons by Kelvin Davis gives an insight into how difficult reforming the public service for Maori will still be even under a Labour Government.

Kelvin very sensibly argued that when you consider the outright bias of our corrupted Justice system which leads to such racist outcomes as over 60% of our prison population filled with Maori (despite only making up 15% of the population), a possible solution could be having Maori Prisons run on Tikanga.

This was immediately shot down by a clearly frightened Andrew Little.


There are a couple of reasons.

The first is that Labour are terrified of being seen to breach the invisible thread of racism that runs deep through NZ that is the 'one law for all' mentality. The idea of backing an alternative prison system that is somehow deemed less punishing or damaging by the rednecks of middle Nu Zilind would spell doom for Labour and they don't want to get caught out politically like that when they have such a strong chance of changing the Government in September.

The second is that there are still large swathes of Nu Zilind who don't accept that the justice system is racist or biased and a move like this would demand wider questions of the Justice system.

The third reason is the Union pressures on Labour. Our public services have been turned into neoliberal weapons used to beat the poor with. Corrections, CYFs, Housing NZ, WINZ etc etc etc are no longer agencies set up to help the most vulnerable amongst us, they are used to punish anyone unfortunate enough to need their help.

These agencies have become staffed with people who enjoy their power over fellow NZers and the responsible Unions won't allow their staff to be sacked or replaced and because those very same Unions have so much power over the Labour Party, the Labour Party are too paralysed with fear to challenge the public service.

The Maori Labour Caucus within Labour are going to have their work cut out for them in gaining real change under Labour, but when you consider the incredible talent within that Maori Labour Caucus, my bet is on them forcing these kind of innovations within social service providers whether the Unions like it or not.

Martyn Bradbury

Editor -

Radio Waatea and it's Board would like to advise that the opinions posted are those of Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury and not the views of Radio Waatea, it's Management or it's Board.

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