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Ed Sheeran

We lead, you follow message for justice reform

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A spokesperson for the Ināia Tonu Nei: Māori Justice Hui report says changing the criminal justice system will benefit not just Māori but the whole country.

Katie Murray, who heads Kaitaia-based kaupapa Māori social service agency Waitomo Papakainga, says the rates of Māori prosecutions and imprisonment point to bias within the system and support the call for change.

She says the foundations of New Zealand's criminal justice system were imported from Britain and it has never been subjected to the sort of partnership-based development envisaged in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

"Ināia Tonu Nei had the whakaaro of 'We lead, you follow.' It's time people took note of Māoridom and our right to stand beside people to make those decisions so that when we do design something it fits not just Māoridom but New Zealanders on the whole," Ms Murray says.

The reforms need to encompass not just the criminal justice system but the way other aspects of government such as the education system deal with Māori.

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