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Maharey Unable To Explain Youth Justice Delays

2 May 2001

Social Services Minister Steve Maharey proved totally unable to explain why young people are still in adult jails due to the massive delay he has created in building a youth justice facility in Canterbury, despite intensive questioning by Opposition Leader and Rakaia MP Jenny Shipley in Parliament today.

"Youths are still being sent to adult prisons in Canterbury two years after the previous National Government decided on a location for a new youth justice facility in Paparua.

"Mr Maharey cancelled that decision, and is now looking at a site his Government has bought in Mandeville. Today he was unwilling and unable to explain why he rejected the original site and refused to say who had made the decision. He also confirmed that Clayton Cosgrove had been consulted, a different story to that which Mr Cosgrove had told his electorate.

"Mr Maharey is also deliberately subverting the truth about what happened under the previous Government. There were two sites identified which I agreed would be very suitable, both in my own electorate. The Paparua site which National agreed to is in my electorate, and as Prime Minister I signed that decision off. I want young people out of adult jails and in a facility of their own.

"Instead of explaining his bizarre actions Mr Maharey is hiding from the questions, just as he hid in the car with his Labour colleague Clayton Cosgrove when they inspected the Mandeville site on April the 20th. Locals had repeatedly sought meetings with the Minister on the proposed site at Mandeville, however he chose not to advise them of his inspection visit, thus avoiding meeting them.

"If they had stuck to National's decision Canterbury would now have adequate facilities for holding young offenders. As it is, the people of Canterbury still don't know when or where those facilities will be built. Mr Maharey, Mr Cosgrove and their colleagues have failed the people of this region," Jenny Shipley said.


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