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Alexander: Govt running over 'goon squad' probe

Media Statement
For immediate release
Wednesday, 8 October, 2003

Alexander: Govt running over 'goon squad' probe

The Government's move to avoid a select committee inquiry into the Paparua Prison 'goon squad' was indicative of an administration losing the plot, United Future's Marc Alexander said today.

"It's a sad day when the Government is more concerned with the odd errant child getting a slap around the legs than it is in a goon squad in one of the nation's prisons that went around beating the tripe out of inmates," Mr Alexander said.

"One has to ask what this Government is so keen to keep under wraps, because this decision demonstrates neither common sense nor competent governance.

"Is it because it is in the pocket of the Corrections union and is putting its interests ahead of the public right to know?

"Or is it concerned that the Corrections Department will be tarnished at the very same time that the Government is introducing legislation to close the Auckland Remand Prison, our best run prison, simply because it is privately managed and doesn't fit die-hard Labour ideology?

"We have had weeks of excuses and delays before the Government finally flip-flopped its way to a decision against the public interest today," Mr Alexander, United Future's law and order spokesman, said.

"A select committee inquiry would have gone a long way to ensuring that the Emergency Response Unit fiasco would never be repeated, that those responsible would be brought to full account.

"It would allow the public to finally be given an explanation as to just where their tax money went in 'settlements' to both inmates and Corrections personnel.

"If there were compelling reasons as to why those considered responsible by the Love Report were recommended for dismissal, an inquiry might have told New Zealanders why those people are still employed by Corrections."

Ends.

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