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Cosgrove to visit youth Justice Centre

17 April 2001
Cosgrove to visit youth Justice Centre

Member of Parliament for Waimakariri Clayton Cosgrove will visit the Lower North Youth Justice Residential Centre located in Palmerston North on Wednesday accompanied by Social Services and Employment Minister Hon Steve Maharey.

Last week Mr Cosgrove wrote to Mr Maharey to request the visit for the purpose of seeing how such a facility operates and is managed.

¡§I have already stated publicly and to the Minister that I am opposed to the Department of Child Youth and Family¡¦s proposal to site the Youth Justice Residential Facility at Mandeville and I maintain that opposition¡¨.

¡§I want to see first hand what impact such a facility has had on the local community and how these secure facilities are run in practical day to day terms. I also want to speak with local residents to see how appropriate the site selection has been,¡¨ Mr Cosgrove said.

¡§I will also be using my time with the minister to reiterate the message that the people of Waimakariri have given me, that Mandeville is not an appropriate or acceptable location for this facility especially when there is crown land available at Paparoa, which if used, would alleviate the need to purchase additional land and therefore save tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars,¡¨ Mr Cosgrove said.

¡§I have spent much of the Easter break meeting with and listening to local Waimakariri residents and whilst there is a general acknowledgement that there is a need for these Youth Justice facilities, the consensus is that Mandeville is a totally inappropriate site for such a centre. This is the message that I shall be reinforcing to the Minister when I meet with him again this week,¡¨ Mr Cosgrove said.

At the conclusion of his visit to Palmerston North, Mr Cosgrove will be reporting his findings to the local people and to the Mandeville citizens action group.

In addition to the visit Mr Cosgrove has taken the following actions to date:

„h Last week I met with the Minister and his officials to advise them that there was ¡¥wall to wall¡¦ opposition from local people to the Minister¡¦s proposal and that based on this view I do not support the proposal;

„h In response to my comments, the Minister gave me two verbal commitments:

1. That the proposal to site the facility at Mandeville is not a fait accompli and a consultative process is being worked through; and

2. That if, at the conclusion of the consultation process, the community¡¦s opposition remains overwhelming, then he will not proceed with the proposal.

„h I have written a further letter to the Minister asking him to provide written confirmation of these commitments.

„h Last week I reported on my meeting with the Minister to a public meeting attended by more than 600 people at Rangiora. At that meeting I reiterated my opposition to the Minister¡¦s proposal;

„h I have met with the Mayor of the Waimakariri District Mrs Janice Skurr and members of the Mandeville citizens action group to listen to their concerns;

„h I have also written to the Minister formally requesting that he visit the proposed site for the Youth Justice Residential Centre at Mandeville, and further that he meet with a delegation of community leaders so that he can personally hear from the local people and residents;

„h I have written to Hon Matt Robson the Minister for Corrections requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the possible use of Department of Corrections land at Paparoa as a more appropriate site for this facility;

„h I have requested from the Department of Child Youth and Family Services copies of all transcripts from all public meetings held thus far so that these can be made available to local people;

„h I have drafted and will lodge this week 35 parliamentary questions to Mr Maharey so as to gain further information about the proposed site at Mandeville and to ascertain why other more appropriate sites for the facility were rejected;

„h I will this week be reporting back to the Mandeville citizens action group regarding my visit to the Palmerston North Youth Justice Centre and I will also be discussing what further actions that can be taken.

ENDS

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