Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Corrections Staff Posted To East Timor Recognised

Recognition For Corrections Staff Posted To East Timor

They opened new prisons and set up a system for running them in a devastated country.

And today the work of twenty-four Corrections staff who helped to set up prisons in East Timor was recognised with the presentation of medals in a ceremony at Parliament.

Corrections staff went to East Timor after Corrections Minister Matt Robson was personally approached by East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao asking for assistance.

They've been recruiting and training local staff, opening three new prisons and setting up processes to run the prisons.

The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) Director of Governance, David Harland, praised their work last year at the opening of the rebuilt Becora prison in Dili.

Mr Harland said the United Nations and the people of East Timor owe a profound debt of gratitude to all New Zealanders. "I cannot speak highly enough of New Zealand Corrections officers in East Timor. Today in Dili has been an example of New Zealand and New Zealanders at their best: principled and practical," Mr Harland said.

The East Timor Medal recognises outstanding contributions made by New Zealanders, both civilian and military, to the reconstruction of East Timor since June 1999.

Corrections Minister Matt Robson presented the medals to Corrections staff today, saying they were sent to East Timor after he received a request as Minister of Corrections and Minister responsible for overseas aid.

"The East Timor corrections system had been devastated. Inadequate, insecure buildings were being used as prisons. Offenders were being turned away because of over-crowding. There was a lack of experience and expertise in running prisons.

"The dire situation posed a major threat to peace and stability in Dili," Matt Robson said.

Since April 2000, the Department of Corrections seconded managers and Corrections Officers from the Public Prisons Service for six months at a time. In total, 26 Corrections staff have served in East Timor and a further twelve are currently there.

Recruitment and training of East Timorese staff has been a major focus for the New Zealand contingent, with over 100 local staff employed now running the prisons.

The focus has changed from setting up the prisons to preparing East Timorese staff to take full responsibility themselves. Corrections Department staff are stepping back from operational matters and moving to an advisory role.

At the medal presentation, Matt Robson thanked the partners of the PPS staff who went to East Timor.

“I know how difficult it can be when your loved one is working away from home, in a potentially risky environment. Families need support in such situations. I hope that families will take as much pride in these medals as the officers receiving them, and as I take in recognising their contribution," Matt Robson said.

Family support provided by the Corrections Department includes a fortnightly mailbag and an email service. If the family does not have access to email they are able use an 0800 number that converts messages to email. Every second Wednesday, the Department organises a conference call for partners. Staff in East Timor are provided with pre-paid cell-phones, the costs of which are shared between staff and the Department.

In March, the Prime Minister presented the first East Timor medal to a PPS staff member. Mel Tihore received his medal in a ceremony to acknowledge the contribution of New Zealanders from a range of organisations who served in East Timor.

Elections for an East Timorese Government are scheduled for August 2001.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday].

Housing Minister Phil Twyford's office said he would not be commenting on Mr Barclay's resignation as it was an employment matter. Last month, Mr Twyford confirmed that Mr Barclay had not been at work for a number of weeks. More>>

 

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

DHBs "Prepared": Junior Doctors Strike Again

The needs of acute patients will be met during tomorrow's junior doctor strike, a DHB spokesperson says... Almost 3000 junior doctors are expected to walk off the job, which will affect all DHBs apart from West Coast District Health Board. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

Trainers: Taratahi Institute of Agriculture In Interim Liquidation

Taratahi employ 250 staff and this year has provided education to over 2500 students. Taratahi owns and manages 8 farms throughout the country. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Report: Complaints About Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

The Authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels