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Goff: Partnership between Corrections, Cannon

Hon Phil Goff

Minister of Corrections


17 July 2008


Speech Notes

Launch of partnership between the Department of Corrections and Canon New Zealand


Tena Koutou katoa

I would like to acknowledge Canon’s representatives here with us today, Managing Director, Craig Manson, General Manager Customer Care, Mike Johnston, Integrated Services Manager, Mohan Dason and Auckland Customer Care Manager, Dave Butler.

I also acknowledge, Department of Corrections chief executive Barry Matthews and managers and staff from Corrections.

Last week, I opened a new building construction facility at Spring Hill Corrections Facility, which is the result of a new partnership between Corrections and Housing New Zealand which will provide employment for more than 90 prisoners.

Today, I am pleased to launch another new partnership and milestone for prisoner employment, this time with Canon New Zealand. By its action, Canon supports and acknowledges the importance of corrections employment for inmates. I would like to thank them for that.

Corrections is keen to partner with other organisations for the mutual benefit of inmates and the wider community.

Canon technicians will teach prisoners how to assemble new photocopiers and clean existing machines. A new operation has also started up at this prison where prisoners dismantle obsolete printers for recycling.

The contract will see prisoners assemble at least 160 Canon copiers and clean 35 each month.

At present there are 15 prisoners employed in this operation. However we expect this number to increase to take on machine repair and the recycling of old machines.

This partnership will not take jobs away from technicians in the market. Canon technicians are fully committed to servicing customers out in the field. They have struggled to find time to assemble new machines and there is a shortage of qualified workers ready to do so.

The partnership will see Canon pay market rates to Corrections, which will offset the Department’s costs in providing inmate employment and training.

This new partnership will provide prisoners with the opportunity to gain New Zealand Qualifications Authority accreditation, which can be put towards a national certificate in Electronic Manufacturing Level 3.

Providing prisoners with skills and formal qualifications to make them employable helps to reduce crime in our communities. Around half of prisoners who enter prison did not have a job at the time of sentence, and research shows that prisoners who find sustainable employment on release are less likely to re-offend.

Providing work and training for as many prisoners as possible is important as part of a strategy to reduce reoffending and help reintegrate inmates back into the community.

As part of the Government’s Effective Interventions drive to reduce re-offending, the Prisoner Employment Strategy aims to have 60 per cent of the prison population in some form of employment or training by 2010.

Two years into the four year strategy we are on target. The percentage of the total population in employment or training has increased from 40 per cent to 51 per cent of the total prison population. Two thirds of sentenced prisoners are now working.

Corrections Inmate Employment assesses market trends to identify industries which require qualified workers within the geographical areas where prisoners are likely to be released.

The partnership between the Department and Canon New Zealand is the most recent example of this.

Canon has a philosophy called Kyosei, which means living and working together for the common good. This fits well with Corrections’ objective, which is to improve public safety by ensuring sentence compliance and reducing re-offending.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Canon New Zealand and look forward to continuing to expand this work in the future.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Corrections staff and Canon in establishing this partnership. This is a good example of the public and private sectors working together to achieve a common goal for the good of the community.


ENDS

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