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Critics of the suggestion that Maori might be interested in running prisons are missing the point according to Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia.
"This is not about money, it's about finding a better way to run our prisons and for Maori iwi and whanau to take responsibility for our own."
"I'm amazed that people think I was suggesting that Maori might put their hands up to run prisons or programmes in prisons, as some money-making opportunity," says Mrs Turia. "That couldn't be further from the truth."
"On the one occasion when we had a privately run prison in this country it was managed by a Maori - brought in from Australia – the prison formed relationships with Maori in the Auckland area, had innovative rehabilitation programmes and was a success. The Labour government got rid of it because of its own philosophical hang-ups."
"What we do know is that the system we have now is failing. I would have thought that the Auditor-General's report released yesterday was ample evidence of that."
"So if we simply keep on doing what we have been, we already know that the result will be more failure."
"On the other hand properly resourced, well-run Maori service providers in areas like health and social services, have demonstrated that they can deliver outcomes that are not only good for Maori but for the country too. That's exactly what I would expect to happen if similar Maori organisations get involved in running prisons."