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JustSpeak research shows Māori far more likely to face charges

27 February 2020

When first encountering police, Māori who have had no prior contact with the justice system have a greater risk of a police proceeding and more likely to be charged by Police, than Europeans, research released by JustSpeak says.

The research, A Justice System for Everyone, says Māori who have had no prior justice system contact are 1.8 times at risk of a police proceeding and seven times more likely to be charged by Police, than Europeans.

Analysis of the research showed that Māori women are most at risk in their teens to early 20s, when they are more than twice as likely to receive a police court proceeding than a European woman. "From the age of 25 years for reasons unknown, there is little difference in risk between women who identify as both Māori and European, and women who identify as European."

Māori men are most at risk in their late 30s to early 40s when they are more than twice as likely to receive a police court proceeding than a European man.

The report says Māori have a greater risk of receiving charges when they are young: "For under 25-year-olds, Māori are four times more likely than Europeans to be charged."

Methodology

The research used 2013 Census data to study people with no prior police record, at at 5 March 2013, who self-reported their ethnicity as either Māori, European, or both Māori and European.

"We theorised individuals identifying as both  Māori and European would be less likely to be seen as Māori than the Māori group, and more likely to be seen as Māori than the European group," the report says. "Any police or police court proceedings occurring over the next year were linked to the individual and recorded against their ethnicity group."

The researchers said they know that an individual's risk of a proceeding is correlated with other social and economic factors (for example NZ Deprivation Index). "To remove the impact of these other risk factors from the analysis, results were adjusted to exclude socio-economic determinants and better show the impact of an individual's perceived ethnicity."

Last updated on the 27th February 2020