25 Jan 2010

Maori Party opposed to new penal legislation

6:01 am on 25 January 2010

The Maori Party is shaping up for a fight with its coalition partners over penal policy.

Co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples have expressed alarm over the three strikes legislation proposed by ACT that the Government intends to introduce.

Mrs Turia says the thrust of the bill is the opposite of the whanau ora approach being pushed by the Maori Party.

She told Waatea News that National seems uninterested in tackling the causes of offending such as poverty and joblessness.

In order to change criminal offending, she said it's essential to look at the family and how to change things for that family so they can fully participate in society.

Ms Turia said other countries like the United Kingdom are looking at ways to lower imprisonment rates and involve the community more in corrections.

Dr Sharples told Waatea News the bill is a major victory for the ACT Party even though National has watered down some of ACT's original proposals.

He said the result will be a silly and unfair law that does nothing to address the causes of offending and will lead to increased strain on the prison system.