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Secret divorce ceremony in prison

Secret divorce ceremony in prison

Stephen Franks
Friday, 1 July 2005
Press Releases - Crime & Justice

The Government is trying to keep the lid on this afternoon’s “divorce” ceremony in Auckland Central Remand Prison, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

“The prison’s private managers will return their Memorandum of Understanding to Iwi Whanui – representing Auckland region iwi.

“It has governed their cultural partnership, incontrovertibly the most successful model of cultural cooperation ever seen in New Zealand prisons. The handback is the first stage in the destruction of the very special culture that has made that prison outstanding, with a reputation throughout Australasia for meeting the highest standards for a remand prison of safety, rehabilitative training, and keeping prisoners locked in.

“That partnership has to end because the prison management must go later this month when Corrections Minister Paul Swain carries out state union orders to re-nationalise the prison’s management.

“I urge Aucklanders to ask if they can attend the ceremony. I have not yet been able to find out the time. It seems the Government is desperate to minimise attention to it. The handover will add to an unending stream of sorry tales from the Corrections Department.

“The transition cost of over $3 million and yearly extra costs of more than $2 million is actually the least of it. The true scandal is in the calculated destruction of the culture that so embarrassingly showed up the failures of the Labour Government’s management of other prisons.

“It is tragic that the takeover is not just three months later. An incoming government could have cancelled it as the first stage of implementing ACT’s policy to free many more prisons from the dead hand of state management and union control,” Mr Franks said.


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