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Paul Swain out of depth, drowning!

Brian Connell National MP for Rakaia

14 August 2003

Paul Swain out of depth, drowning!

Paul Swain should relinquish his role as Corrections Minister, says Rakaia MP and member of the Law and Order Select Committee Brian Connell.

"Under questioning in Parliament today, Corrections Minister Paul Swain refused to acknowledge that activities which three members of the 'Goon squad' engaged in, warranted the termination of their employment.

"His wiser colleague, Georgina Beyer, commented that "...it is ridiculous that the men involved were not fired!"

"When the Goon Squad was rumbled by the Christchurch Press, the department hastily commissioned an "internal investigation". To the horror of management, the report led by their senior HR executive, Maureen Love, recommended dismissal of the three ringleaders.

"The report was largely ignored and no one was sacked. The Department is now on the slippery slope of defending the indefensible.

"This is despite a litany of behaviour so horrendous that Prison Chaplain, Father Jim Consedine, said '...that such practices could be developed, tolerated and practiced in a state-run prison defies belief. One suspects that many offenders are imprisoned for behaviour less reprehensible.'," Mr Connell said.

The behaviour reportedly included illegally accessing Wanganui computer files, undercover missions to Dunedin where staff infiltrated a hotel disguised as staff, the drinking of $480 worth of booze, indecent exposure in a public place and the use of a beer bottle to hit a subordinate's genitalia. "Labour prides itself on being a diverse and accepting Government, but I don't think any of us realised how far that went!.

"It would probably be for the best if Mr Swain hands his portfolio to Georgina Beyer. At least she understands the difference between right and wrong," Mr Connell said.

ENDS

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