Police officers are being told not to ticket unlicensed Maori drivers caught behind the wheel.
The Counties Manukau Police guidelines are detailed in a policy, leaked to TVNZ last night.
It states police should refer Maori drivers for training if they are pulled over without a licence or in breach of their conditions instead of fines.
Superintendent John Tims told NewstalkZB this morning the document should have been worded better.
Everyone was entitled to the compliance, not just Maori drivers, he said.
"[The document] is probably not worded as well as it can be.
"There's two parts to this: the compliance is for everyone, including Maori, and it is about making sure there's less deaths on the road, less crashes," Mr Tims said.
Maori drivers were "considered" when they were pulled over by police, he said, but were included in the policy simply as part of the Turning the Tide national policy.
PassRite Driving Academy founder Fred Bardon said it was a great way of getting people licensed to drive - but only if it applied it all drivers.
Maori should not be the only targeted group "...because there are other offenders that are doing the same thing and we need to be across the board so that everybody gets the same opportunity", he told NewstalkZB.
Maori health innovator and former New Zealander of the Year Lance O'Sullivan said the policy could help nip downward spirals in the bud.
"You get a kid who gets arrested and then goes to court, then gets fined $500 and can't pay it. There's a spiral of things that we could be responsible for in the first place," he said.