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Prisoners Help With Flood Work

21 July 2006


Prisoners Help With Flood Work

Prisoners have been playing their part in the flood cleanup and protection work in Wanganui, Manawatu and Hawkes Bay regions.

South of Wanganui, minimum security prisoners have been helping with the clean-up of marae and in Palmerston North they have pulled logs from the river and repaired a walking track, says Public Prisons Service Midland Regional Manager Leanne Field.

In Hawkes Bay they have been helping protect the region from flooding by planting native trees on river banks.

“The prisoners have been really pleased to help out and the self-discipline they develop through working reinforces the habits they need on their eventual return to the community,” Leanne says.

In Hawkes Bay, floods are the most severe natural hazard, with a severe storm or flood every 10 years.

To help contain floods, work gangs from Hawke’s Bay Prison have been planting around 1600 natives a day for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

Initially the gangs worked free of charge as part of the Prison’s commitment to helping the community, but the Council has been so impressed that they are now funding the work gangs.

“The gangs are doing so well that the plant supplier is having trouble keeping up and the quality control standards have also very high so little work has to be redone,” Ms Field says.

Eight minimum security prisoners also removed logs from the Manawatu River and spread metal on a walking track beside it while offenders from Wanganui Prison have been clearing silt and and mud from around the Whangaehu Marae, 15 kilometres south of Wanganui.

Clearing silt and mud from gardens at the marae required the removal of 15cm of garden bark, Leanne says.

“They’ve been digging drainage channels and water blasting furniture to get it clean,” she says.

“Work like this gives the prisoners in the gang a well-earned sense of satisfaction. In Hawkes Bay, they are contributing towards protecting the community from floods and in Whangaehu, they have been making the recovery from flood devastation that much easier,” she says.

ENDS

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