$133m to break Māori re-offending and imprisonment cycle

By Tema Hemi

A total of $133 million will focus on breaking the cycle of Māori re-offending and imprisonment, with an added Whānau Ora approach to reduce Māori prison numbers. A further $131 million will be spent to lift outcomes for people who interact with the justice system.

The Minister of Corrections is set to pump $98 million into the prison system to break the cycle of Māori re-offending and imprisonment.

Minister Kelvin Davis says, "We don't want to continue down the pathway we have been going down, but to pave a new pathway to assist those families that are incarcerated in our prisons."

He says the government agencies are working together in partnership with hapū and iwi to tackle this issue.

"We are working collaboratively as a cluster, so Whānau Ora, Corrections and MSD. We are utilising our different skills to advance this initiative," he says.

$35 million has been ring-fenced for delivery of the Paiheretia te Muka Tāngata initiative, a Whānau Ora approach to reducing re-offending. 

Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare says, "As we all know family is most important. When a family member is incarcerated the family are there in support. When that family member is released from prison, again the family is there."

$131 million operational funding has been set aside for the Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata initiative, for those who are in need, or at high risk of needing, mental health or addiction services within the justice system. 

Judge Andrew Becroft says, "If we talk about transformation this could be the key. You are right, we still have to see the delivery. Now, is the time to look carefully at the delivery. That's what this budget sets up."

This year's Well-Being Budget will see $480 million dollars invested and spent on Māori over the next four years.