26 Jan 2010

Govt - ACT agenda "hurting" Maori - Turei

6:47 am on 26 January 2010

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the smiling face of Prime Minister John Key is being used to push through an "extremist right wing" agenda which is hurting Maori.

Ms Turei says ACT rather than National seems to be setting the Government's agenda.

She told Waatea News that backing for ACT's three strikes legislation as a response to crime was just the latest example, which followed the shutting out of Maori from the new Auckland Council.

Ms Turei said the Government was under no obligation to support the three strikes legislation and it was clear that ACT has "much more influence" in Government than the Maori Party.

However, former New Zealand First MP Ron Mark says ACT's three-strikes policy will be good for Maori.

Mr Mark says his party originally came up with the tougher sentencing policy for violent offenders, which will be included in the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill.

He says low income Maori are the most likely to be affected by violent crime, especially those who have extended whanau with gang links.

He told Waattea News that many Maori "look with absolute despair" as they see more and more young Maori going down the track towards that way of life.