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Corrections’ priorities are all wrong

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

18 January 2006

Corrections’ priorities are all wrong

National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power, says he is flabbergasted that with all the problems in the prison system the Correction Department’s first move in 2006 is to change its approach to Maori cultural practices.

“I don’t believe that changing from a powhiri to a whakatau is the most pressing issue in our prisons.

“You can’t tell me that that is more important than:

- Guard recruitment problems that have Corrections considering hiring people with criminal convictions.

- Increasing attempts to smuggle drugs and weapons.

- Dangerous overcrowding problems that had prisoners being kept in vans on public streets, and using showers in rugby clubrooms.

- Overcrowding problems that the department says will continue through till at least 2011.

- Serious assaults on guards and Parole Board members.

- Seven escapes in one month.

- Design faults that let prisoners wander into staff areas at night.

- Huge cost overruns for new prisons.

“Corrections have some very serious issues to address – issues of public safety and guard safety – but all they can think of is changing cultural practices.

“They must get their priorities right,” says Mr Power.

“This department and its Minister, Damien O’Connor, are fast becoming the laughing stock of the public service.”


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