Donna Awatere-Huata is the victim of a racist justice system - so says Pita Sharples. This is because the sentence she faces for fraud is higher than that which Auckland millionaire David Henderson faced for buying cocaine. This blanket blame of "racism" is seen to be true, because although the prison population is disproportionately (compared to population) Maori, it simply is unfathomable to the Maori Party that all Maori in prison are guilty.
It is almost certainly true that there are a handful of people in prison who are not guilty of the crimes they are convicted of, and that will include some Maori - but it wont be in the order of 75% - the system we have tends, because of the standard of proof of criminal guilt - Beyond Reasonable Doubt - to let far more guilty people go free, than innocent people get convicted. This is how it should be! This is the common law based criminal justice system we inherited from the UK, far better than the systems of many other countries which take a harsher view of guilt, or even demand that the innocent PROVE their innocence. Needless to say, whatever criminal justice system existed in New Zealand before European settlement was unlikely to be consistent, objective or protective of individual civil liberties - but we will never know as no written language existed to provide records to help facilitate that. The criminal justice system is stacked in favour of finding the charged innocent - guilt needs to be proven.
More fundamentally, Awatere-Huata defrauded a charitable foundation of money for her own ends. The Pipi Foundation, which existed to undertake the wholly admirable activity of raising funds to help kids learn to read, lost out. It was not her money to use for that purpose. It is theft by another name. David Henderson was trying to buy cocaine - an adult trying to use his money to buy a substance from another adult - no victim.
She did the crime, now should do the time. Most New Zealanders would be outraged if Maori got more serious sentences for similar crimes than non-Maori. There is no controversy about that, similarly most New Zealanders would be outraged if the Police or Courts targeted Maori because of race. However, if someone Maori commits a crime (not a victimless one), let them be found guilty, prosecuted and sentenced. If more Maori commit crime than non-Maori, they need to look to themselves - nobody made Donna Awatere-Huata and Wi Huata commit fraud - let Sharples and Harawira blame the guilty for their crimes, not shift blame to a system that is biased in favour of the charged!