Dr Pita Sharples; Co-leader Maori Party
Tuesday 7 August 2007
Dr Pita Sharples called today for careful analysis regarding the latest report on youth justice system and Maori youth offending. [Youth Justice Statistics in New Zealand 1992-2006]
"The last thing this country needs is 'more demonising of Maori' said Dr Sharples".
"We have to forget about the headlines, and concentrate on giving the time to understand the causes of Maori over-representation in the youth justice system, come up with well researched facts - and then to come up with some solutions, and fast".
"New Zealanders deserve the full facts of the youth justice stats, including that:
* when population increases are considered, the apprehension rate of all young people between 1995 to 2006 has DECLINED;
* the percentage of 14 to 16 year olds apprehended who were Maori DECREASED from 1995 to 2002;
* the proportion of young people convicted in the District or High Court DECREASED from 11% in 1992 to 6% in 2003".
"While I am not saying the stats are all good news by any means, I think we have to take a responsible approach - and ensure that the nation knows some things are working well, some progress is being made" said Dr Sharples.
"Of course the tragedy of this latest report is the atrocious state of the numbers regarding apprehensions of Maori - some 47% of 14 to 16 year old young people apprehended in 2006 are Maori. We must all be concerned that the Maori apprehension rate is twice that of our Pasifika whanaunga and nearly three times that of other New Zealanders".