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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Private prisons just wrong says Davis

MP Kelvin Davis has slammed Maori leaders who are angling to be part of the management of a proposed private prison in South Auckland.

Members of the Iwi Leaders Forum last month visited a Melbourne jail run by G4S, which is a likely bidder to build and managed the 1000-bed men's prison at Wiri, and urban Maori authorities have also met with the firm.

Mr Davis, Labour's associate Maori affairs and education spokesperson, says that shows their priorities are completely misplaced.

“Incarceration of citizens is something that should be left for the state to do. It’s not something Maori should be rubbing their hands in glee with at the thought of money rolling in to the coffers simply by locking our relations up. Simply to me it's just wrong,” Mr Davis says.

Iwi leaders should be encouraging young Maori into education that will make them the leaders of tomorrow, rather than into jobs as prison guards.


New FOMA chief executive Ron Mark isn't giving up on politics just yet.

The former New Zealand First MP was picked to run the Federation of Maori Authorities because of his experience both in national politics and in managing Maori land trusts.

Mr Mark says he still intends to stand for mayor of Wairarapa, and believes there is an overlap.

“Maybe by taking the helm in the Carterton District Council we can help guide constituents and the council into recognising some of the issues that are important to tangata whenua in that area and have those things factored into long term development plans in a more satisfactory manner,” says Mr Mark, from Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa


A new childcare centre in Kawakawa is garnering international attention.

Whenua, which is being built for the Ngati Hine Health Trust, was longlisted in the unbuilt category of the World Architecture News Awards, but failed to make the final six.

Architect Phil Smith says it was great to get that far, and the building will be submitted for other awards.

He says the brief was to incorporate iwi traditions, so tamariki can learn their culture and customs.

Foundation work has started.

“Kind of sculpted in a womb-like oval shape out of the land and the building literally grows out of that form. The back of it is a big grass bank and the front is a row of opening glazing facing north onto the playground so it overlays functional considerations with very symbolic considerations as well,” Mr Smith says.

He says building of the main environmentally friendly structure will start as soon as consents are finalised.


Auckland's urban Maori authorities are welcoming the government's proposal to allow private companies to build and manage a 1000-bed men's prison in South Auckland.

Announcing the plan, Corrections Minister Judith Collins said she expects the successful private provider to will have Maori representation and offer Maori specific services.

Willie Jackson from the Manukau Urban Maori Authority says he's been sounded out as a partner by private prison operators.

He says that given one in two male prisoners are Maori, it's a significant opportunity to influence the way prisons are run.

“We think that we should be involved in this business. I know that previous governments said private prisons won’t work but we have a different view. We saw some success last time and if they’re going to go down that track, the government, then why not talk with organisations like ours,” Mr Jackson says.

Labour list MP Kelvin Davis says Maori leaders should work on encouraging young Maori into positive activities rather than seek to profit by locking them up.


A Maori addiction specialist says other indigenous communities are looking for leadership from Maori on the issue.

Barry Bublitz of Tainui and Taranaki is set to attend the sixth Healing Our Spirit conference in Hawaii later this year, along with Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia.

He expects delegates will be keen to hear how the new model for delivering health and welfare services is working.

“Other indigenous look to us for some direction or affirmation. A lot of other communities are only just catching up to the whole holistic approach around health care and so on so it will be good to have the minister talking about that,” Mr Bublitz says.


Maori rugby expertise is improving the game in the United States.

Former Maori All Black Jim Love says a course modeled on one at his Rotorua-based sports academy has been picked up by the University of California, Santa Barbara.

He says the connection came through his stint as coach of a North American squad of US and Canadian players keen to tap into his vast rugby knowledge.

Jim Love has also coached professionally in Italy and well as taking Tonga to a Rugby World Cup.


Blogger teiria said...

Yes I agree with you,encouraging young maori into education and make them leaders of tomorrow, so nga mokopuna of today and in time to come, may have a better future.

12:58 PM  

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