A major police strategy to slash Maori offending and victimisation rates will miss most targets - with progress on reoffending going backwards.

The Herald can also reveal that the Government is developing a new strategy that will include police, justice, welfare and other agencies and is linked to the "social investment" approach that uses data to target services.

Police launched the Turning of the Tide strategy in 2012 and set goals to slash stubbornly high Maori crime and road safety statistics.

However, four years later little to no headway has been made and ground has been lost on repeat offending.


By June next year, Police aimed to get a 10 per cent drop in the proportion of first-time offenders who are Maori.

No progress has been made - 44 per cent of first-time youth offenders and 28 per cent of adult first-time offenders are Maori.

Another aim was for a 20 per cent decrease in the proportion of repeat youth and adult offenders who are Maori.

In fact, things have worsened - the Maori proportion of repeat youth offenders jumped from 55 to 60 per cent, with the adult proportion rising from 41 to 45 per cent.

Kelvin Davis, Te Tai Tokerau MP and Labour's Corrections spokesman, said the culture in government agencies was "not warm" to Maori, although initiatives such as iwi liaison officers were positive.

"There needs to be a cultural change. And I'm not talking about singing more Maori songs or doing karakia at the start of the day. I mean the attitudes in hearts and minds."

Police Commissioner Mike Bush last year admitted there was some unconscious bias against Maori in the organisation - a recognition later praised by the Human Rights Commission.

Julia Whaipooti, chair of the legal lobby group Just Speak, said Bush was right.


"Labelling happens - Maori are more likely to be stopped than non-Maori, just by the mere fact that they look more suspicious [to police]."

Police deserved praise for setting a strategy and targets, Whaipooti said, but a whole-of-Government approach was needed.

"The targets were unrealistic in terms of how they resourced the force to meet them...hopefully this will be the prompt for them to go back and say, 'It's not working, how can we do better.'"

A police spokeswoman said forming trusting relationships with Maori would take time.

Initiatives to reduce Maori offending and victimisation include having iwi liaison officers, appointing Maori responsiveness managers to every district and also running Maori Advisory Boards with iwi representatives.

There has been a 1-4 percentage point improvement in the Maori proportion of repeat victims and road fatalities.

One target already reached is to reduce by a quarter the number of apprehensions of Maori youth that result in prosecution - since 2012 this has dropped by 35 per cent.

Family group conferences, alternative action and warnings were used to steer offenders away from the Youth Court, police said.

Labour's police spokesman Stuart Nash said he hoped meaningful interventions like conferences were used more than warnings that are "just a slap on the wrist".

Naida Glavish, who lead the Ngati Whatua crime prevention plan that was the genesis of the Turning of the Tide, said much needed to be changed in police and other organisations.

"There is an attempt on the part of Police to do things differently, but they are a huge organisation...the thing we need to encourage is the intent to make those changes," said Glavish, former Maori Party president.

The Government is working on a new "Justice Sector Maori Strategy" to be released this year. The work will likely link on-the-ground programmes like Whanau Ora with analysis using a powerful Statistics NZ database that is the engine of the social investment approach being championed by Finance Minister Bill English.

About 50 per cent of the male prison population are Maori, and almost 57 per cent of the female prison muster are Maori. Maori make-up about 15 per cent of the general population.


A Police strategy to cut Maori offending and victimisation launched in 2012 set six key targets to achieve by June 2018. Progress to May shows most will not be met.
• Target: A 10% decrease in the proportion of first-time offenders who are Maori.
Status: No change for youth or adults - 44% of first-time youth offenders and 28% of first-time adult offenders are Maori.
• Target: A 20% decrease in the proportion of repeat youth and adult offenders who are Maori.
Status: Youth offending proportion has risen from 55 to 60%, adult from 41 to 45%.
• Target: A 20% decrease in proportion of repeat victims who are Maori.
Status: Youth proportion dropped from 41 to 37%, adult has risen 26 to 27%.
• Target: A 25% cut in non-traffic apprehensions of Maori that result in prosecution.
Status: A 35% reduction for youth and a 9% reduction for adults.
• Target: A 20% fall in the proportion of casualties in serious and fatal crashes who are Maori.
Status: Fatal crash proportion fallen from 23 to 20%. No change in serious crash proportion.
• Target: Record Maori satisfaction, confidence and trust in Police.
Status: Satisfaction is at 78% - down from 82% in 2013. Trust and confidence is down 2% to 64%.