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Alexander calls for prisons 'league table'

Media Statement
For immediate release Tuesday, 11 May, 2004

Alexander calls for prisons 'league table'

United Future MP Marc Alexander today called for a prisons "league table" as he continued his battle to keep the privately run Auckland Central Remand Prison open.

In upping the pressure on the Government, Mr Alexander last week sponsored an SOP to the Corrections Bill, which was deferred today, to keep the high-performing prison open.

He also met with Iwi Whanui representative Eru Thompson, a key supporter of the campaign for the prison, to discuss the SOP.

"United Future will continue to urge the Government to review the situation at Auckland Central Remand Prison because it is the best performing prison in the country and should be held up as a model, not closed down," Mr Alexander said.

The Government is opposed to the private management of prisons and the Bill, in its current form, would require that prisons to be staffed by State employees.

"As I have said before, to do so would be a victory of ideology over common sense," Mr Alexander said. "This prison works brilliantly - and this has been recognised by Iwi Whanui, and their key representatives such as Mr Thompson, who are getting right behind it."

Mr Thompson is strongly linked to the group of concerned Maori mothers and grandmothers who this morning held a prayer vigil outside the prison in support of keeping it open.

Mr Alexander said a prisons league table, similar to one run in Britain, would let the public know exactly what "bang they are getting for their Corrections buck".

"We don't have rigorous appraisal of our prisons, nor are comparisons publicly available.

"And there is no doubt about which one would finish at the top today, and it wouldn't be a State-run facility," he said.

Ends.

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