18 Sep 2012

Call for legislation review covering Maori Wardens

7:23 am on 18 September 2012

Pressure is mounting to review the legislation covering Maori Wardens after part of it was ridiculed during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Maori Community Development Act has been described as old-fashioned.

The council says it needs looking at due to criticism over wardens' ability to go into bars and seize car keys from Maori patrons if they appeared to be intoxicated.

The council says it is looking to take control of Maori Wardens from government department Te Puni Kokiri and it has set up a committee to administer the wardens.

The council says it has authority to control and supervise wardens through district Maori councils under the Maori Community Development Act.

Maori Wardens have expanded their role from the historical focus on curbing unruly behaviour and diffusing tensions, to providing security at events and in public places, street patrols, walk-throughs at licensed premises, and hospital visits as well as court attendance and support.

Its newly-elected deputy chair for Maori Wardens, Des Ratima, says he will be asking the committee to review the current structure.

Mr Ratima says there is a need to review the legislation and go around the country to hear what different districts have to say.

At present, Te Puni Kokiri has a $1 million project with police to fund things such as training the wardens.