A lobby group says there is mounting anecdotal evidence of Maori representing themselves in court because they can’t afford a lawyer.

Rethinking Crime and Punishment says the tightening of legal aid eligibility is to blame. Spokesperson Kim Workman said he’s receiving reports from the courts that Maori are missing out on expert legal support.

Even if they plead guilty, he said representation can cost $5000 to $6000 – money many don’t have. He said they’re choosing to represent themselves, and they’re doing it very badly.

Kei te kokirikiri tetahi roopu mo te hunga Maori e mate ana te haere ki te kooti na te whakapae he pohara ki te utu i tetahi roia hei tuara mo a ratou nawe. E ai ki te roopu Rethinking Crime and Punishment, nana whakataunga ture te tino take kei te kake nga tatauranga o te hunga Maori e haere ana ki te kooti, noreira koira te tino he ki ta ratou titiro. Ko te whakatau a te mangai o te roopu whakarato ture a Kim Workman, kua mimiti haere nga huihuinga kooti e whai waahi atu ai he roia hei tautoko i te hunga Maori kei te hara. Mehemea kua he te tangata, ko te utu mo te roia kotahi kei waenga i te rima mano ki te ono mano taara, a, ko ratou te hunga kei te arataki i a ratou ano.