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Politics forces top prison manager’s resignation

23 February 2004

Politics forces top prison manager’s resignation

A board representing six iwi in a partnership with the privately-managed Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) today said the resignation of the prison’s General Manager was a huge loss for the country.

“The people my Board represent are deeply shocked at this news. Dom Karauria has run the most successful and innovative prison this country has ever seen and has formed the first genuine working partnership between a prison and tangata whenua,” said Mr Taua.

“While we are shocked at this loss, we believe that Dom has been left little choice. Despite its fantastic achievements, the Labour and Green parties have given this prison no support whatsoever and, through the ideologically-driven Corrections Bill, have forced him out of his job and out of the country.”

Mr Taua said Iwi Whänui were confident the relationship with the current management provider, GEO Group, would continue as it had, but held real fears for the future of ACRP under public management.

“Our publicly managed prisons are an absolute disgrace and just last week I asked Amnesty International to formally investigate their management and their treatment of inmates.

“It is this incompetence in our prisons that Dom was working so hard to turn around,” he said.

“Now this opportunity is lost as a result of pathetic politics and blind ideology. The much-needed reform of our prison system has been seriously set back by the Government’s Corrections Bill and by today’s resignation.”

Mr Taua said while the successes at ACRP has been a team effort involving staff, the Mäori and Pacific communities, and a number of individuals and organisations, the Corrections Bill had forced one of Maoridom’s most impressive and respected leaders off shore.

“The Corrections Bill has been politics at its worst. There was no consultation with stakeholder communities and our strong submissions have fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

The Greens, upon who many placed hope, couldn’t even manage to turn up to Select Committee to hear us and turned down invitations to better inform themselves with the facts.”

“As a result, this country has lost one of our most talented Mäori leaders – the one person in our prison system who was succeeding in the fight against the steadily slipping standards of our publicly managed prisons,” said Mr Taua.

ENDS

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