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‘Let the law take its course,’ says Minister

June 4 2002 Media Statement

‘Let the law take its course,’ says Minister

“The issues raised by those objecting to the Northland prison site have been thoroughly considered by the Environment Court, and are at present the subject of an appeal. I ask the protestors to wait for the outcome of that appeal,” Corrections Minister Matt Robson says.

Matt Robson was approached over the weekend by objectors to the prison seeking a meeting with himself and Ministers.

He advised that Ministers will not be meeting with them and asked that they allow the Department of Corrections to continue with construction activities on site.

“I made that decision after officials advised me that the issues for discussion were the same as those already considered by the Environment Court and are at present the subject of an appeal to the High Court. In those circumstances a meeting would be inappropriate.

“I also considered the fact that an independent review of process was carried out by the Chief Executive of Te Puni Kokiri at the request of the Prime Minister subsequent to her Northland visit in April of this year.

“This review confirmed that all parties had been given the opportunity to present their views both to members of local authorities and the Environment Court, and that the decision of the Environment Court took all the these matters into account.

“I understand the Department has invoked the Trespass Act and asked the Police to assist them in gaining access to the site.

“I am disappointed that the objectors have chosen to take this course of action while their appeal is before the High Court.

“Having been fully briefed by Department officials I am satisfied that they have exhausted all other options prior to involving the Police and taking the action they did this morning.”

This is an operational matter and any further queries should be referred to the Department of Corrections.


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