Maori flag over prisons

Written By: - Date published: 1:13 pm, August 5th, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: crime, maori party, poverty, prisons - Tags: ,

Patrick Gower recently reported an odd proposal by Pita Sharples:

Pita Sharples wants Maori flag to fly over prisons

Pita Sharples has a plan to improve the rehabilitation of Maori offenders in the justice system: fly the Maori flag at every prison. … At present only the New Zealand flag flies over prisons where more than half the inmates are Maori, and Sharples says seeing the flag would help their morale. “It’s just an opportunity for people to rally under their flag if they want to,’ says Sharples.

I find this proposal bizarre. Why associate the Maori flag with the ultimate symbol of one of our failures as a society – our overcrowded prisons? And what kind of boost to morale would this really provide to anyone? Terrifyingly, I find myself almost in agreement with an ACT MP:

‘If I was Pita Sharples, I’d be looking at reducing re-offending, rather than silly acts of symbolism than this,’ says ACT MP David Garrett.

Well and good, but not enough. If I was Pita Sharples I’d be looking at reducing crime full-stop. Reducing it the only way real reductions can ever be made, by alleviating the poverty that is the main driver of crime. Hey Pita – by propping up the NACT government and its continual attacks on the poor and the ordinary workers, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. How long are you going to let that continue?

33 comments on “Maori flag over prisons”

  1. tc 1

    This is about as good as you’ll get from Sharples, in between his troughing and generally doing SFA.

    Some rednecks would claim he’s fairly representative……hardly inspiring leadership again from the MP.

  2. sally 2

    Not just an ACT MP R0B – DAVID GARRETT???

  3. jbanks 3

    Who said this is all he wants to do about Maori poverty & the resulting crime?

    • r0b 3.1

      Not me. But as long as he’s propping up NACT it’s clear that he’s not serious about the problems.

      • jbanks 3.1.1

        To be fair to the MP, an agreement with NACT was probably more pragmatic than being just another minor opposition party.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    You know how when europeans discovered new countries, they’d put their flags in the soil as a show of possession? That’s all this reminds me of – “this prison belongs to us Maori!”, not a good look.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Yeah, had a similar thought and it’s got to be the sickest joke of a suggestion/policy from the Maori Party yet.

  5. peter 5

    I thought that Sharples’ comment that raising the pension age was unfair to Maori as they don’t live long enough to collect it was more telling.

  6. Ron 6

    Of all the people who have become MP’s, all the promising politicians who have made parliament and then disappointed us and let us us down, I am most disappointed by Pita.

    So many fantastic achievements and then he blows all that mana. Damn, crying shame.

  7. What I really want to know is, Pita, how do you know that this would increase prisoner morale? Where does the data say so? Is there any evidence to suggest this would increase morale at all?

    Why not just fly the Black Power flag three days a week, and the Mongrel Mob flag three days, if you think flags are relevant to prisoner morale. Hell, when they privatize prisons, shell companies controlled by gangs can take control of prisons, then they can screen prisoners, and then they’ll only have to fly one all day every day.

  8. Jenny 8

    If ever there was, a way to discredit this symbol.

    This is it.

    • felix 8.1


    • burt 8.2

      Perhaps if you truly believe that the prevalence of Maori people in prison is only a result of socioeconomics and you truly attach no causality to race then you do want to draw attention to an appalling situation.

  9. Rex Widerstrom 9

    They fly the Aboriginal flag, along with the national flag and the state flag, at the entrance to many prisons in Australia (though that usually means none can be seen by the inmates).

    Did Mr Garrett advance his far-reaching and meticulously researched program for “reducing re-offending” I wonder? Having guaranteed the worsening of prison overcrowding with “3 strikes” he undertook (in response to my challenge on Kiwiblog) to draft legislation to address the other end of the equation – stopping offenders ever reaching that stage.

    Wonder how that’s going?

  10. burt 10

    Hey Pita by propping up the NACT government and its continual attacks on the poor and the ordinary workers, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. How long are you going to let that continue?

    I think you missed the key point rOb, Pita is currently inside the tent pissing out after decades of being outside the tent pissing in. I have a fair degree of respect for Pita and his approach to representation of his people and I think you are a classic Labour supporter who thinks that the best interests of Maori can only be served by Labour.

    Fat lot of good the Maori MPs resting on the back benches in both major parties have done in the last 150 years but putting that aside, why are you so upset about the Maori Party coalition with National? Is it just because National acknowledged that one political party can’t represent the best interests of all people all the time when Labour stuck with the dinosaur vision that they could because they had a red logo, or is there something else ?

    • bbfloyd 10.1

      orating at your mirror again burt?

      • Craig Glen Eden 10.1.1

        yes he is bbf, I thought this was about Pita and flags but Burt uses it to attack Maori MPs on both side of the house then continues his old trick of slagging Labour.

        I think if Burt had an ounce of objectivity he would realise that most here who post on the standard lived in hope that Pita would actually achieve some thing meaningful for Maori in these tough economic times. Sadly not only has he achieved jack shit he has become a laughing stock with by defending racist comments( Hones latest) and making out he is achieving stuff with symbolism.

        The truth is the last Labour Government did actually get Maori into work and apprenticeships, Pita on the other hand has been a huge disappointment sadly.

  11. Tigger 11

    Wait, prisoners are allowed to view flags now? Damn soft penal system!

  12. nilats 12

    whats the problem, most prisoners are Maori anyway.
    [Not needed….RL]

    • eye saw 12.1

      And they call Hone a racist.

      “wiping my arse”.

      Thats why every flag has been dipped in smallpox,really virulent.

      Time to grow up and get used to the fact that maori were here first and are still here with no plans to go elsewhere.
      We’ve had to put up with the uninvited for two hundred years or so,fishing ruined,banned from eating toheroa,even tho the treaty promised unlimited acess to our kaimoana.
      Land stolen,replaced with a native reservation on uneconomic land.

      And you moan about a flag.

      [Clearly you saw the racist provocation before it was moderated out. It was exactly the kind of thing that starts emotive flame wars. I’ll allow this … but end it here. RL]

  13. bbfloyd 13

    eye saw.. it might pay to remember that racism is is still racism regardless of who expresses it. the issue of maori representation and their right to have their genuine grievances addressed is not helped by expressing views in a way that does no more than give bigots on the other side of the divide reasons to excuse themselves from addressing those issues.
    rise above it bro.

  14. felix 14

    WTF is it with Pita and sticking flags on things?

    No achievements in parliament and a sucky deal with a redneck govt? Stick a flag on the bridge.

    Corrections blowing out of control and maori copping the sharp end? Stick a flag on a prison.

    Is there anything he can’t fix by sticking a flag on it?

    • burt 14.1

      WTF is it with any nation, ship, country, club, clan, team, company, news paper, blog, ….that they want to put a flag on things?

      What would you say about a Tuhoe Nation flag if Tama Iti wants one over prisons where his people are unjustly incarcerated?

      • felix 14.1.1

        I’d say you’re trying to compare two unrelated things, one of them imaginary.

        “It’s just an opportunity for people to rally under their flag if they want to,’ says Sharples.

        Nothing to do with pointing out perceived injustice burt.

      • burt 14.1.2

        Have it your way, what would you say about a Tuhoe Nation flag if Tama Iti wants one over prisons where his people are unjustly incarcerated?

      • burt 14.1.3

        BTW, I was attempting to see it from Tama Iti’s perspective. I hope I’m safe assuming that he perceives there are unjust imprisonments. I personally have no idea how many Tuhoe people are incarcerated and/or what for so I make no judgment on the validity of said incarcerations.

        • felix

          Sorry burt you’ve completely lost me. I haven’t heard anything about Tame Iti’s plans re: flags on prisons.

          If it’s a hypothetical I fail to see how it relates to Pita Sharples’ plans.

        • burt

          typical, you are all noise and no substance felix. Chicken !

  15. B 15

    “Reducing it the only way real reductions can ever be made, by alleviating the poverty that is the main driver of crime”

    well said!!

  16. Joshua 16

    But to alievate poverty you need to create jobs, however to create jobs you need businesses to expand, to get businesses to expand we need to reduce the risk, to lower the risk we need to lower the risk of taking on more employees, but we can’t do that cause you guys don’t support the 90day bill.

    Another words the Labour supporters on this site don’t seems to want to stomp out poverty, hence I was surprised they would tear this action down, I thought it was something the Labour party proposed when I heard about. Although I fully agree with you, what is with the inconsistency of ideas? Is this sites goals just to attack everything this government does, and not agree with anything?

  17. Brian Drury 17

    peter sharles really wants the flag flown and some inflated royalties to be paid for the priviledge of flying it of course

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