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Q+A: Kelvin Davis admits parts of prison system 'extremely racist'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has admitted parts of the prison system are "extremely racist" and says that’s why the Government is asking Māori to work with it to make changes.

Minister Davis was on Q+A to talk about his new prison reform plan, Hokai Rangi, aimed at reducing the high numbers of Maori in prison.

"Look I believe there are parts if the system that are extremely racist.

"That’s why we’re saying to Māori, ‘work with us.’ And Corrections has taken the bull by the horns. They’d be the first government department to actually say, ‘Māori we need to really work with you, walk alongside you and get this right for our people’."

When asked by Jack Tame what parts of the system he thinks are the most racist at the moment, Mr Davis said the numbers were clear.

"Why is it that Māori are over-represented? They’re prosecuted for similar crimes that other people aren’t."

JACK Some people will say that it’s because they are committing these crimes.

KELVIN And we can go back and talk about how history has impacted on outcomes for Maori. We can talk about all those sorts of things. But Hokai Rangi is about actually looking at the Corrections system and making sure that it works and it is effective for our people

Minister Davis also told Q+A every aspect of the incarceration of the man accused of the Christchurch terrorist attacks is being examined.

He said this includes those who are entitled to visit him, "He has approved visitors, and at the moment his only two visitors are members of the family and his legal people."

He said the members of his family are, "his mother and his sister."

Q+A, 9:30pm Mondays on TVNZ 1 and one hour later on TVNZ 1 + 1.

Streamed live at

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