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Govt Finally Sees Sense Over Mandeville

Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee has welcomed the decision to abandon plans to build a Youth Justice facility at Mandeville in North Canterbury, labelling it a victory for the people of Mandeville and for common sense.

"The people of Mandeville have fought long and hard against this proposal, against a Government which was reluctant to listen. That even extended to Steve Maharey and Clayton Cosgrove sneaking around the region recently to inspect the site without alerting local groups who had repeatedly expressed a desire to discuss the issue with them.

"The only unfortunate aspect of today's decision is that the Government is now going back to square one, and will begin anew considering sites. Two years ago the National Government gave the go-ahead for a new purpose-built Youth Justice facility to be built on a site at Paparoa Prison. The Labour Government axed that project, and detoured into an ill-considered Mandeville proposal. That has severely delayed the building of a proper facility, leaving young offenders in Canterbury sometimes being sent to adult jails.

"It is offensive that Social Services Minister Steve Maharey has today described the search for a new site as 'an urgent priority'. It is his Government and its dithering which has set the building of such a facility back by more than two years.

"It is equally offensive that local Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove is attempting to claim credit for today's decision. That's like last week when Jim Anderton tried to claim credit for fast-tracking legislation to allow a development at Whitianga which had been delayed by the actions of his own party. Mr Cosgrove and his colleagues are the cause of the stress and confusion suffered by Mandeville residents in recent months, not the cure.

"If the Government were being honest it would admit that the real reason they have decided not to proceed is because the site at Mandeville was at the centre of a legal quagmire. Proceeding with Labour's proposal would have invited a major legal confrontation over whether the land could be used for such a purpose.

"Labour's attempt to pass off a fiasco of its own making as a victory by its MPs is disturbingly deceptive," Gerry Brownlee said.

Ends


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