12 Sep 2014

National rejects Maori Party IPCA policy

9:45 am on 12 September 2014

The National Party leader is rejecting a proposal by the Maori Party to replace the police watchdog body with a more powerful anti-corruption commission.

The Maori Party is calling for a sweeping review of the justice system to address what it says is institutional racism.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The party's election policy says it wants to also get rid of the Independent Police Conduct Authority and establish an anti-corruption commission to cover the state sector, police and justice sectors.

National Party leader John Key opposes abolition of the IPCA. "They are they authority that people go to to make an independent complaint - and more often than not, or at least on many occasions, and certainly where it's warranted, the IPCA is not afraid of either criticising the police and making recommendations."

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and list candidate Tame Iti launched the policy at a Victoria University student meeting this afternoon in Wellington.

Mr Flavell said a lot more Maori and Pasifika people are being apprehended, charged, convicted and imprisoned because of instituionalised racism.

He said when it came to justice the odds were stacked against Maori and Pacific Islanders on the streets, in the courts and in the prisons, and the whole system needed fixing.

"There's some issues to do with the police, some issues to do with how the courts operate. We've adapted over time to circumstance that allows us to deal with some of these issues such as the Te Kooti Rangatahi youth court where we've taken the circumstance of young Maori onto marae and dealt with issues that way."

If part of the next Government after the 20 September election, the Maori Party wants a review of the justice system, repeal of the three strikes legislation, and a change to the law so prisoners can vote.

The party wants Treaty clauses in every piece of legislation, Cabinet paper and regulatory statement. It also wants cultural competency training in the state sector.

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