Responses to Wrongdoing

MANA supports the development of a tikanga-based system to respond to wrongdoing which would focus on investing in community and whānau wellbeing, including addressing poverty and creating employment, so that people are better able to provide and care for each other.

A tikanga-based system would utilize and further develop restorative and community justice processes.  It would include the development of a dedicated Māori response system to reverse the discriminatory effects of the present system which arrests and imprisons Māori in such high numbers.

A key goal of this approach is to reduce wrongdoing by properly addressing the contexts of poverty, unemployment, isolation, ill health, addictions, racism, and so on, in which it occurs, including the context of ongoing colonisation.

Another key goal is to reduce the use of prison as a response to wrongdoing.  In the long-term, prisons would be abolished and replaced with non-custodial options and habilitation centres focused on the restoration of wrongdoers, as recommended by the 1989 Roper Report.  New Zealand has the second highest incarceration rate in the OECD, and prison numbers continue to rise even though crime rates are falling, and even though prison exacerbates some of the issues underlying wrongdoing and further isolates wrongdoers from their families and communities.

MANA also advocates for greater cross-party cooperation on responding to wrongdoing, and promotes the development of a shared parliamentary response so that the issue is depoliticized.

MANA policy priorities are to:

  • Invest in whānau and community wellbeing
    • Invest in the development of a comprehensive framework for whānau and community wellbeing which would include a clear plan to eliminate poverty, create full employment for those able to work, and enhance communities and the work of community organisations.
  • Invest in community-based restorative systems  
    • Invest in the development and implementation of free-of-charge restorative, marae, and community-based processes, including dispute resolution processes, to respond to wrongdoing and work to restore all those involved.
    • Increase the emphasis on community approaches in the police, including working closely with Māori police liaison groups, and for police training to include an understanding of the impacts of colonization on Māori and how to break the cycle of institutional racism in policing.
    • Restructure the Independent Police Complaints Authority as a truly independent body whose decisions can be appealed, and with an autonomous Māori investigative branch to review Māori complaints against, and Māori relationships with, the Police.
  • Abolish prisons and replace with other measures including habilitation centres
    • Set a timeframe for the abolition of prisons.
    • Immediately establish an independent research entity to investigate the development of non-custodial options.
    • Develop a limited number of habilitation centres which are focused on restoring the wellbeing of wrongdoers and their whānau, and which include the restoration of those who have been wronged.
  • Advocate for cross-party and public consensus on responding to wrongdoing
    • Advocate for ‘crime’ to cease being a party political issue which has driven New Zealand down an increasingly punitive and prison-focused path, and for wrongdoing to instead become a parliamentary issue where cross-party and public consensus is required which has led to significantly lower offending and incarceration rates in other countries.
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