Community Workers not suprised Māori are still worse off

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

West Auckland community workers are not surprised by the Salvation Army's latest report, saying that Māori are still worse off. 

The report says that Māori prisoner numbers are at a record high. 

Shane White, support programme director for prisoners on release, says the government isn't doing the right things to bring down the numbers.

Shane White an advocate for ex-prisoners isn't surprised by the latest report highlighting that most prisoners are still Māori, “Offenders are caught by police and sent to court. But at the end of that line is more people in prison, so more prisons are built. I believe prisons aren't the place to rehabilitate our people.” 

Another concern highlighted in the report is that 21% of children under the age of 17 are living in poverty.

“It saddens me to hear that, but it's a reality.  Unemployment could be an issue for the parents. It's important to have a job and an income, so people aren't living in need,” says Dame June Mariu from Toka Tū Moana.

The Social Services Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which will see smoke alarms and insulation installed in residential rental properties. 

But Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills says the bill will do little to improve conditions for children living in poverty.

“This is not going to be enough to reduce the 42,000 admissions of children a year with respiratory conditions, and it's not going to make a difference to the 15 deaths a year,” says Children’s commissioner, Dr Russell Wills.

One of his recommendations is that all houses should meet the current insulation standard.