The Government has today announced it is taking action on the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending rates and delivering on its target to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent, with the creation of a new Māori Pathway at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison and Northland Region Corrections Facility.
This initiative will be co-designed and implemented by Māori, with Corrections, Te Puni Kōkiri, and the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) working together in partnership with hapū and iwi. It will initially focus on Māori men under 30 years of age, as this group has the highest reconviction and reimprisonment rates. The Pathway will enable people to experience a kaupapa Māori and whānau-centred approach for all of their time with Corrections, from pre-sentence to reintegration and transition in their community.
Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the $98 million Wellbeing Budget investment is a major first step in changing the way Corrections operates to help break the cycle of Māori reoffending and imprisonment.
“We are acknowledging that our system does not work for the majority of Māori. The answer is not another programme. This is a new pathway for people in prison and their whānau to walk together. This is a system change and a culture change for our prisons – and that change starts today,” Kelvin Davis said.
“The Māori Pathway delivers on a number of our Government’s priorities. It’s about reducing reoffending so there are fewer victims of crime, building closer partnerships with Māori, and enabling us to keep delivering on our target to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent.
“This is a great example of the Wellbeing approach in action, with a number of agencies working together to target long-term change.”
Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges his colleagues Kelvin Davis and Carmel Sepuloni for being bold and taking a whānau-centred approach to their mahi.
“This is real progress towards incorporating Whānau Ora into their portfolios and agencies, extending Government support and buy-in to the Whānau Ora approach, as recommended by Tipu Mātoro ki te Ao,” Peeni Henare said.
“Whānau Ora successfully supports positive outcomes for whānau because it recognises the power of the collective and promotes self-determination. It is a holistic and strengths-based approach, allowing whānau to define and work towards their own aspirations. This is an important step for Government to improve whānau wellbeing.”
Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni says MSD is committed to supporting the person and their whānau to achieve their goals.
“This is an exciting initiative which aligns with recommendations in the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s report to improve outcomes for Māori and enhance support for people in prisons,” Carmel Sepuloni said.