Real Life

Hayley Holt breaks down on live TV over confronting interview with lawyer Julia Whaipooti about racism

Ms Whaipooti revealed that Māori women would rather stay with abusive partners than deal with the racism in NZ's justice system.

Breakfast TV show host Hayley Holt has broken down on live television following a confronting interview with lawyer and justice advocate Julia Whaipooti.
Hayley's co-host John Campbell had been interviewing Ms Whaipooti about New Zealand's justice system and the confronting fact that Māori women would rather stay with abusive partners than deal with the racism in the justice system.
She was addressing a new report by JustSpeak which found Māori first-time offenders are seven times more likely to end up in court than pākehā in the same situation.
Other research shows police are eight times more likely to use a taser on Māori than pākehā.
Ms Whaipooti criticised new roaming armed police forces that target Māori and Pacific communities, saying the policy is racist given the research.
Ms Whaipooti told John, "Right now we're Americanising our police force in Māori communities apparently to keep us safe - but do you know who does not feel safe by police? It is Māori.
"Do you know how many Māori women I have spoken with who are in abusive relationships and they would rather not call the state because they are more worried about the abuse that they will experience if they phone the police or if they have to deal with Oranga Tamariki [Ministry for Children]," she continued.
"What does that mean if they were to lose their children?
"They would rather not go to the state because they are more scared of that than the fist of their partner that they have to deal with every day.
"That is a problem, when the system becomes a perpetrator that a people cannot trust."
John Campbell responded by saying, "We have to stress that Julia is responding to figures that are pretty striking and Julia is a lawyer, an adviser to JustSpeak and a senior adviser to the Children's Commissioner.
"And boy oh boy there is something for us all to confront here and to acknowledge and respond to."
It was then that he turned to his co-host and noticed she was struggling to hold back tears.
"So powerful," Hayley managed to say before John picked up the narrative again.
"If you take two kids, one is Māori and one is pakeha, and neither of them have any prior record and the Māori kid is 1.8 times more likely to be taken to the station and seven times more likely to be charged once you're there... That is a staggering failure.
Hayley could no longer contain her distress and began sobbing uncontrollably.
"You're find this pretty upsetting aren't you," John said to her as he reached out to comfort her, placing a hand on her upper arm.
"I'm very hormonal obviously, but it's so bad," she replied.
JustSpeak is a youth-movement for transformative change in criminal justice towards a fair, just and compassionate Aotearoa. You can read its full report here.
By 'hormonal', Hayley was referring to the fact she is pregnant with her first child.
The popular TV pesonality announced her pregnancy on air in January by responding to feedback that had come in from a viewer who speculated whether she was expecting.
"On Monday we had a message from Terry saying: 'Hi team, happy new year. I've just tuned in and I'm wondering if I've missed a special announcement. Is Hayley pregnant? Or is it just today's outfit? Her bust and belly look quite full.'"
Hayley joked, "Now Terry, I'm terribly offended."
Adding, "I'd get angry and I'd send someone over to see you if, in fact, it wasn't true because yes Terry, I'm pregnant," she confirmed.
"I'm so happy because I wanted this for a very, very, very long time and I thought my time was running out and it hasn't," she revealed.