Defence Forces Moved Into The Prisons
4th September 2001
"I have requested by letter that the Minister of Defence step in and allow the armed forces to assist with the running of our prisons during the CANZ dispute," says Minister of Corrections Matt Robson.
"Public safety must be the priority, that and the safety of inmates and staff. As the Minister that is my job," said Matt Robson.
Minister of State Services, Trevor Mallard and Matt Robson announced the move tonight.
This follows low-level industrial action by CANZ (Corrections Associations of New Zealand) staff, since the beginning of August.
"We're disappointed that it's come to this. We had hoped to avoid this situation. Bringing in the defence forces is a last resort, but we must have certainty and security in our prisons," said the Ministers.
"We can't have the defence forces and police on stand-by indefinitely.
"Like health, police, defence and emergency services, the running of prisons is an essential service. That is why we have the powers to call in the defence forces if necessary," the Ministers said.
The government ministers will be working closely with officials to monitor the situation on a daily basis.