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Prison muster crisis: what happens next month?

Hon. Tony Ryall MP National Party Law & Order spokesman

26 October 2005

Prison muster crisis: what happens next month?

National MP Tony Ryall says he wants to know what the Peters/Clark Government will do next month as the prison muster crisis worsens.

"We have been warning the Government for 18 months over the prison muster crisis. Despite Ministers' assurances, the crisis is getting worse.

"The reason New Zealanders should be worried is this will open up even more prisoner compensation claims.

"What is the Government going to do next month? Already prisoners are being stored in vans parked outside prison gates, and some are showering in local rugby clubrooms.

"Ministry of Justice projections have proved to be wildly inaccurate. There has been no improvement in their forecasting ability.

"Last year a Ministry of Justice report exonerated its ability to make accurate muster projections. Minister Phil Goff said last year that he had confidence in the ministry's ability to make accurate forecasts.

"What we don't have confidence in is the ability of the new Justice Minister, Bungler Barker, to sort this mess out.

"The answer, as we have always said, is to expand the use of double bunking.

"The Peters/Clark Government has been incompetent in dealing with the prison officer union, and has been unable to reach sufficient agreement to do that'" Mr Ryall says.

ENDS

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