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Ed Sheeran

Māori leadership of prison reform strategy essential

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A justice reform advocate says Corrections needs to get out of the way and let Māori drive the co-design of a new strategy to reduce the proportion of Māori in the prison muster.

Launching Hōkai Rangi in parliament this morning, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said he wanted major transformational change within Corrections and eventually for the proportion of Māori in Corrections care to match the Māori share of the general population.

The strategy includes authentic co-design with Māori, incorporating a Te Ao Māori worldview, and greater connectedness with whānau.

Julia Whaipooti says they're things that are obvious to Māori.

"The biggest challenge though is how it will be implemented, because Corrections does not have the expertise and should not work on building up their own expertise on how to work with Māori. They need to be able to delegate their functions and their resource to Māori to lead the implementation of the strategy because if they try to do it, it will just fail," she says.

Ms Whaipooti says Corrections needs to start thinking about how they can release people back into their communities who can make a positive contribution.

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