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The Government’s weak response to the Māori Justice Hui report is consistent with its confused soft on crime approach, National’s Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“The Ināia Tonu Nei: Māori Justice Hui report appears to have responded to what this Government has been signalling and has resulted in a key recommendation to abolish prisons. Instead of ruling this out, Justice Minister Andrew Little has said the Government is considering its response.

“Mr Little needs to be very clear on the Government’s position, and confirm it will not be abolishing prisons.

“The Criminal Justice Summit was set up to fail from the start. It was poorly planned and ignored two critical stakeholders, victims and iwi. Taxpayers forked out $1.6 million and have yet to see any justice policy or reforms generated from this and the subsequent summits.

“The solution to reducing prison numbers lies with National’s social investment approach – early intervention and support that will prevent people entering the criminal justice system. Many of the recommendations from the report are aligned with our policy.

“Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has spent almost $100 million of taxpayer’s money on a ‘Māori Pathway in Prisons’, which is supposed to take action on Māori reoffending rates. But the Minster has no idea if it’s going to make any impact, and there are no measures on whether it will be effective.

“This is just another example of this Government wasting money without getting the detail right.

“National has a strong track record of collaboration and cooperation between the Crown and iwi to make our Justice sector stronger and more accessible for all Kiwis.

“This Government needs to stop signalling through blind ideology that reducing prison numbers is somehow going make New Zealand safer. Without a clear plan on how to reduce crime, releasing offenders early is only going to increase the risk and harm to communities.”

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