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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reoffending test of prison privatisation

The Prime Minister says the success of private prisons will be measured on whether they reduce recidivism.

British company Serco has been selected to run Auckland Central Remand Prison, and the government is considering bids to build and run a new men's prison in south Auckland as a public private partnership.

John Key says he agrees with urban Maori spokesperson John Tamihere that the existing system isn't working for Maori.

“Despite the stereotype that a lot of people would like to put up there that it’s every second Maori that goes to prison, all this sort of carry on, that’s just not true. One in two people in prison might be of Maori ethnicity but they’re a cohort of people that go in and out of prison all the time so success from our point of view is stopping that, stopping them going to piano in the first place and when they do go, making sure they don’t come back,” he says.

John Key says privately-run prisons will definitely save the government money.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says Pakeha as well as Maori need to feel safe to put their views forward during the constitutional review.

Ms Turei says the ministers running the process need to be careful that discussions about the Maori seats and the place of the Treaty of Waitangi don't create the same sort of anger that the current foreshore and seabed debate is generating.

“If we have decent constitutional discussion where Pakeha have the chance to talk about the issues for them in a safe way and a non-combative way, it could be really advantageous. Or it could just be a big political whitewash where the National Party is trying to park issues like the Maori seats for the election period so they don’t have to deal with it,” she says.

Ms Turei says New Zealand still has to deal with the painful legacy of its colonial past.


The national organisation for the reform of marijuana laws ... Norml ... says a new police policy to let first time offenders off with a warning is likely to cause problems down the track for young Maori males.

Norml's president, Stephen McIntyre, says if they're picked up a second time, the first offence will be treated as a compounding factor.

He says the statistics make it clear that young Maori males are far more likely to be stopped and searched for cannabis by the police.

“Maori tend to come to the attention of the police a lot more and I think in this case they are more likely to feel the impact of this policy,” Mr McIntyre says.

He says the policy will be welcomed by groups which aren't subject to random police searches.


Labour leader Phil Goff says putting Auckland Central Remand Prison into private management won't deliver the results Maori are hoping for.

Urban and iwi groups have held talks with the chosen provider, British firm Serco, with urban Maori spokesperson John Tamihere saying there could be a chance to offer rehabilitation services.

Mr Goff says that's likely to be well down the company's list now it has won the contract.

“When you've got a private international company running the prison service, they’ll want a big profit out of it and that profit will come at the expense of the staff the prison ratios, the employment and conditions of the prison staff and the sort of money they are putting into the sort of programmes JT was talking about,” he says.


A group of Porirua women married to Mongrel Mob members say their new Monday morning "muzzy's group" is having a positive effect on the menfolk.

Spokesperson Maria Burgess says a get-togethers, which were developed as part of a four-year project funded by Internal Affairs, having included things like taking the kids on an outing to Te Papa museum.

She says their menfolk are supporting it, and taking action themselves such as cleaning up their clubrooms.

Maria Burgess says the Mob families have made domestic violence a no no.


Waikato Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says the late John Haunui will be remembered for his willingness to share experience and knowledge with younger members of Waikato iwi.

Mr Haunui, one of the senior orators for the Kingitanga, died yesterday at the age of 71.

Ms Mahuta says as well as being an authority on Tainui history, he had close relationships with King Koroki, Te Atairangikaahu, and King Tuheitia.

She says he made a huge contribution to Waahi Pa and had been sharing a lot of his stories at youth wananga at the marae.

John Haunui is lying in state at Waahi Marae


Blogger Kamiria said...

I watched a disturbing documentary about private prisons in America. The prison had a hookup with several judges in their court system and who were paid to ensure all the young people who came before them were given a custodial sentence, regardless of how serious their charges were. Despite some of their charges being even less than misdeameanor they were given custodial sentences. As an ex-prison officer even though I think our judges are a cut above this the possibility that it could happen scares me. Prisons for profit is against all human rights.

3:20 pm  

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