Media Statement 6 July 2016
Māori Party Co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox are deeply disappointed with the Corrections Department standing down Whanganui community worker and kaumātua Ngapari Nui this week after unfounded complaints from a pressure group.
“As New Zealanders we pride ourselves on treating people fairly but that’s not what’s happening here,” Mr Flavell says.
“Mr Nui has a record of doing excellent work volunteering his time to help rehabilitate and reintegrate prisoners to the community. He’s been doing this for years and there hasn’t been a problem,” he says.
“It seems some people have oversimplified this situation and are preying on people’s fears and prejudice. I understand before he started volunteering with the justice system, Mr Nui was vetted by corrections and disclosed his affiliations. There wasn’t a problem then and there shouldn’t be a problem now,” he says.
Mrs Fox says: “What’s happening now is a kneejerk reaction at the expense of someone who gives his time for the betterment of others. That’s not on.”
“While we expect this senseless view from the Sensible Sentencing Trust, we expect better from the Minister and her officials,” she says.
“In and of itself, being in a gang is not a crime. Because of Mr Nui’s background and insights he’s in a strong position to connect with those he’s trying to help and to have success in rehabilitating them,” she says.
“To discriminate against him in this manner is not only deeply disrespectful to Mr Nui and the Iwi that appointed him, but it’s counterproductive to what the justice system should be trying to achieve. He isn’t the first gang member to assist the justice system and he won’t be the last,” she says.
“Instead of worrying about comments on talk back radio and Stuff, Corrections and the Justice Minister should take a step back and make a considered approach about what works.
“The role of Kaiwhakamana is integral to supporting the rehabilitation of inmates and assisting with their successful reintegration into the community. I only hope Corrections have the good sense to take on board Iwi representatives advice when they meet this morning,” she says.
Media contact: Erena Temara 021 859 773