Kelvin Davis for change in corrections - Former Parole Board member

By Taroi Black

A former member of the New Zealand parole board says that Kelvin Davis will help bring down the stats around Māori incarceration as the deputy leader of Labour has already admitted he has interests in taking the ministerial portfolio for Corrections.

Matua Hakiaha says, “I once heard Kelvin saying that he's wanting to build an actual prison for Māori in which every aspect of it will include Māori protocols, such as the language, culture and all those sorts of things because that's where I think is a point of difference where numbers could possibly drop.” 

Mr Davis told Kawe Kōrero, “My initial aim if I'm Corrections Minister, is to stop people going into prisons in the first place. And to do that, we got to make sure people are educated people have good housing, people have good health outcomes, and people have jobs.”

“That's a major issue. We haven't seen previous governments implement projects for prisoners that are released, they're only worried about things that happen in prison. That's fine but I like what Kelvin is doing to make a difference”, Mr Hakiaha said.

Hakiaha has already worked under two governments with the New Zealand Parole Board and he wants to change.

“The numbers are climbing. 10 years have resulted in 48% of non-Māori in prison. Meaning we've seen 51% of Māori who have been incarcerated in the past 10 years. The system is failing.”

The official government announcement on ministerial roles will be made on Wednesday.