Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Management and unions defend staff actions

19 August 2005
For immediate release

Management and unions defend staff actions

The Department of Corrections and the two unions representing corrections officers joined forces today as they responded angrily to what they described as offensive and misleading reporting by The Press.

The report followed the escape of high medium security prisoner Brendan Joseph Shiels from Christchurch Men’s Prison late on Wednesday night 17 August. Shiels is also facing charges following a serious assault on a Corrections Officer earlier this year.

“The report implies that the first staff on the scene did nothing,” said Corrections Association of New Zealand (CANZ) president Beven Hanlon.

“In fact, we understand staff at the Prison immediately followed procedure, contacting central control and followed instructions.”

In response to allegations that Corrections tried to keep the escape quiet, Public Prisons Service General Manager Phil McCarthy said a media statement issued on Thursday morning, the day after the escape, provided details about the escape and the prisoner.

He endorsed Beven Hanlon’s comments and said Departmental procedures were tightened following a serious 1996 incident at the same prison.

“Three officers were seriously injured in that incident and one was taken hostage. It is a risk for officers operating on night shift, with limited staff available, to recklessly confront an armed prisoner without planning and protective equipment,” said Mr McCarthy.

Public Service Association (PSA) Organiser Alan Ware said that New Zealand officers are not routinely armed and equipped to deal with potentially lethal situations. Staff safety is a primary concern.

“It is imperative in such situations that a planned and considered approach is taken,” said Mr Ware. “It is seems clear from what we know that the staff did what was expected of them and followed required procedures”.

Trained officers equipped with protective gear are tasked with responding to incidents involving armed or dangerous prisoners. A response team was actioned on Wednesday night as the alarm was raised by the two officers.

“The incident will be thoroughly investigated and changes will be made where necessary to prevent such an incident recurring,” said Mr McCarthy.

“I have seen nothing to date that suggests any fault with the actions taken at the time of the escape.”

Mr McCarthy also repeated earlier comments that an additional, electrified, fence is planned for Christchurch Prison and that tenders for the project had been let before this recent incident.

“It is probable that fence, had it been in place, would have helped staff to apprehend the prisoner before he made his escape,” said Mr McCarthy.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election