Andrew Little not ruling out 'radical' idea of running a prison on Maori values: 'Whatever we're doing now is wrong'

Labour leader Andrew Little has not ruled out the idea of a prison run on Maori values to try and curb the over-representation of Maori in prison. 

Labour’s Kelvin Davis has come up with the idea of a prison run on tikanga Maori values. Source: Breakfast

Te Tai Tokerau Labour MP Kelvin Davis proposed the idea, with Mr Little referring it as "new ways of confronting what is a very serious problem". 

"This is not Labour policy, it is about Kelvin saying we've got to do something different," Mr Little told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

"We can't just keep locking up more Maori in our prisons."

Fifty-two per cent of New Zealand's prison population is Maori, and although Mr Davis did not want the prison to be exclusively for Maori offenders he said it was time New Zealand had a prison that better represented tikanga Maori. 

Mr Little said it was a "radical" idea, but said the high proportion of Maori in prisons meant "whatever we're doing now is wrong". 

When asked, with public support, if the idea would become Labour Party policy, Mr Little answered, "I think it's pretty clear we're going to have to look at new ways of dealing with our prison population if we want to stop recidivism, if we want to fix the problem."

"There is something wrong here."