10 May 2013

Academic rebuts criminologist's view on Maori crime

9:00 pm on 10 May 2013

An academic in Maori studies says a criminologist's view that the large Maori population in Hamilton is to blame for the city's high number of first warnings under the three strike law, is shallow.

The Sentencing and Parole Reform Act came into effect in 2010 and on conviction of a third qualifying offence, the court must impose the maximum penalty on a person.

Ministry of Justice figures show Hamilton has 287 first warnings compared with 402 in Auckland. In the South Island, Dunedin has recorded just 56 and Invercargill 89.

Canterbury University sociology professor and criminologist, Greg Newbold, says Maori are over-represented in violent crime, which explains the high number of first warnings.

But Massey University Maori development lecturer, Veronica Tawhai, says Mr Newbold is failing to see the bigger picture.

She says there is well-documented research showing that Maori are charged at a higher rate when they appear in court.