Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard
Question No. 3—Prime Minister
3. DEBBIE NGAREWA-PACKER (Co-Leader—Te Pāti Māori ) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his Government’s policies and actions?
Rt Hon CHRISTOPHER LUXON (Prime Minister): Yes, and particularly in the context they’re made, and particularly about our efforts to try and improve Māori health and education outcomes for young Māori.
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: Does he agree with Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Law Society, and the New Zealand Bar Association that scrapping funding for section 27 reports will disproportionately impact Māori, undermine rehabilitation, and lead to higher rates of offending, and, if not, why not?
Rt Hon CHRISTOPHER LUXON: No, I don’t. The reality is that Māori are higher victims of crime than anybody in this country, and we’re making sure that Māori feel safe in their own businesses, their homes, and their communities.
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: Does he accept that his policy will create a double standard in sentencing—for the wealthy, who can afford to privately fund their own section 27 reports, and for those who cannot?
Rt Hon CHRISTOPHER LUXON: No, I don’t. The intention of section 27 reports was that someone could bring a friend or a family member to speak to their past. That was what was intended to happen. Instead, what’s happened is that there has been a cottage industry of reports, often prepared by people who don’t even know the offender. So the reality is that we’re putting it back to its original purpose. That option still exists and will continue to exist.
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: What work is this Government doing to ensure that Māori and those on lower incomes will not be unfairly sentenced as a result of this policy?
Rt Hon CHRISTOPHER LUXON: Well, we are making sure that we actually have a fair system, that is fair and that stands up for the victims of crime and doesn’t stand up for the offenders.
Rawiri Waititi: Supplementary—
Rawiri Waititi: You’ve forgotten me so early, Mr Speaker!
SPEAKER: Rawiri Waititi.
Rawiri Waititi: Does he find it acceptable that Māori women make up 64 percent of the female prison population while Māori men make up 50 percent of the male prison population, and, if not, what are his Government’s solutions to reduce that number and ensure it doesn’t increase as a result of this policy?
Rt Hon CHRISTOPHER LUXON: No, I don’t find it acceptable, and that’s why we’re working so hard on lowering crime.
Rawiri Waititi: Point of order. I don’t think he answered that question, Mr Speaker.
SPEAKER: That’s not the test. What is the point of order?
Rawiri Waititi: The point of order was that he didn’t answer the question around whether he finds it acceptable and what is his Government going to do about it.
SPEAKER: Well, I think he did. The Hansard will show that there was an answer to that. It might not be the answer you want. Please carry on—OK?