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Knee-jerk wins again

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 am, June 22nd, 2009 - 89 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags:

Does anyone understand why prisons are so expensive to construct?

  • They’ve got to be secure
  • They’ve got to be safe for the prisoners and for others
  • They’ve got to live up to the basic conditions that are set by a civilised society (and I hope we want to be one of those)
  • They’re designed to last a hundred years and hard to seriously damage

This latest half-arsed idea of shipping container cells from that blow-hard Crusher doesn’t meet any of those parameters. In the end that’ll cost the government more than it’ll save on the cells. The cells will have to replaced every few years rather than every hundred. Every death or assault that can be blamed on Corrections using unsafe el cheapo building methods will lead to an expensive law-suit.

Let’s not be dumb. If we’re going to lock up more people do it properly.

Oh and don’t think locking more dudes up will do anything to control crime. Never has. Definitely won’t in a recession when crime goes up. The prison muster is up 700 this year thanks to the recession. The only thing that will result in fewer prisoners is less crime. That will come when economic conditions for the poor improve.

89 comments on “Knee-jerk wins again”

  1. Anita 1

    The prison muster is up 700 this year thanks to the recession

    Do you have a source for this? I’ve been completely failing to find any decent analysis of the current spike in muster  so it’d be great to real yours. I’d originally assumed it was the traditional winter spike, but they now seem to be talking about a continued higher muster.

    • poptart 1.1

      Kim Workman gave that number on Q&A.
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0906/S00227.htm

      • Anita 1.1.1

        *nod*nod* The increase is well known, the link to the recession I hadn’t seen before and Zetetic seems very sure that’s it (rather than seasonal fluctuation or the result of other policies).

        • Merlin 1.1.1.1

          I think Zetetic always very sure of him/herself.

          Didn’t the Standard have a post a while back about the link to crime rates and unemployment? If unemployment (or more generally poverty) is on the increase, it makes sense that crime would be increasing and that will probably lead to more convictions. that’s not going to be the whole story though – Labour hired a lot more cops and National as reduced parole. That will put up prison numbers too.

          • Anita 1.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, Marty G had a go at crime and unemployment a while back. It unfortunately confused correlation with causation, and actually included nothing about poverty.

            I’m entirely happy with an argument that increased relative poverty leads to increased crime. But… I don’t think that proves that the current increase in prison muster is caused by the recession.

          • Merlin 1.1.1.1.2

            So how do you explain .9 correlation if not with causation?

            Isn’t the number one cause of poverty unemployment?

          • Anita 1.1.1.1.3

            Poverty doesn’t appear in any of Marty G’s figures, so there’s no correlation provided.

            Two things can have a high correlation because they’re both caused by something else, or caused by other things that are caused by the same thing.

            Take, for example, the growth of my tomato plants and the number of eggs my chooks lay in summer high correlation because both are closely linked to day length, but it would be ridiculous to say that either causes the other.

  2. gingercrush 2

    The only knee-jerk reactions are from those opposing the idea. After all, what isn’t knee jerk about comments saying, “slave/forced-labour” and “inhumane”

  3. The dog whistle is getting a good blow lately.

    Penal policy (unfortunate phrase given Worth’s and Garrett’s recent difficulties) has been tightening up for years. The current muster is heading towards 10,000, it was 6,000 a few years ago.

    Despite the fevered claims of the opposition the last Government was actually hard (oops I meant tough) on crime. Sentences increased in average length and the incarceration numbers boomed. Building four new prisons is hardly the actions of a namby pamby hit them on the back of the hand with a wet bus ticket sort of government.

    The current proposals are inhumane and I bet that Crusher calculated on people saying this. National’s promise to “toughen up” on crime will only make matters worse.

    If this was a sensible debate we would be looking at places like Finland or Sweeden and putting into place restorative measures.

    Instead of that we are looking to the US for inspiration. If you did a cold headed analysis of the economics of their system let alone the human costs you would run a million miles from following it.

    • gingercrush 3.1

      Your Labour government you so dearly love were really good about restorative justice weren’t they mickey. Even in opposition where Labour have come out with all types of pro-worker policies there is still silence on that subject. I mean Cosgrove doesn’t even think prisoners should gain building skills.

      • Pat 3.1.1

        If the US prison system is so bad, which communist utopia prison system should we be adopting?

        • gingercrush 3.1.1.1

          Um I have to agree with Mickey about the US prison system. Its terrible. But to compare New Zealand’s prison system to the US is simply nonsense.

        • Merlin 3.1.1.2

          Finland’s? Sweden’s? Demark’s? All lower prison numbers, all lower crime. Why? Lower poverty.

          • Redbaiter 3.1.1.2.1

            Not true.

            Socialist countries figure much higher in crime rates than non socialist countries.

            How come you don’t know this??

            How come you’re arguing on this issue when you’re this uninformed??

            http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri_percap-crime-total-crimes-per-capita

          • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.2.2

            “DEFINITION: Note: Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence. Per capita figures expressed per 1,000 population. ”

            Anyways, what’s a ‘non-socialist country’?

          • Redbaiter 3.1.1.2.3

            Yeah Pascal of course.

            Japan is too unsophisticated to collect correct crime stats.

            You guys are religionists.

            When the facts show you something that confronts your socialist dogma, you go into instant denial.

          • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.2.4

            So is Japan not socialist?

            http://www.heritage.org/Index/Ranking.aspx

            The collectors of the facts noted that definition problem baiter, not me. Why are you citing such religious jibberish if you don’t like it?

          • Redbaiter 3.1.1.2.5

            “So is Japan not socialist? ”

            A lot less socialist than countries much further up the table.

            Face it Pascal. It is the institutionalised break down of morality that occurs when socialist politicians in National and Labour steal and bribe their way into power that is a major cause of crime.

            http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_ass_vic-crime-assault-victims

          • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.2.6

            lame.

            face it, you’re an idiot, and your cite doesn’t show shit.

      • mickysavage 3.1.2

        GC

        It (Labour’s rhetoric on Law and Order) is a sign of what has happened with the debate. Every time a rehabilitative proposal is raised there is this crescendo of noise that drowns out the debate. A similar thing happens in the US, they do not do this in Europe, or at least not as badly.

        I am starry eyed about most of the things that the Clark Government did but penal policy is not one of them. I applauded the restorative justice initiatives and some of the sentencing changes but they did make it a virtue of not being “soft” on crime and the incarceration rate increased.

        Pat

        Finland and Sweeden, in fact most of democratic Europe seem to be doing far better than NZ.

        GC

        I am glad that we agree on the US prison system. But the Crusher rhetoric matches the rhetoric of US politicians who were responsible for the development of their prison system.

  4. Pat 4

    “The current proposals are inhumane…”

    Please explain why you think they are inhumane.

  5. r0b 5

    The only thing that will result in fewer prisoners is less crime. That will come when economic conditions for the poor improve.

    But improving economic conditions for the poor is so hard! Better leave that to Labour governments. If you’re a Nat, it’s much easier to pump up the rhetoric, build more prisons, and lock people up for longer. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • gingercrush 5.1

      Oh yes. The great economic conditions of 1999-2008 did so much to decrease prison numbers. Of course the last budget National gave in 1999 pointed to very good years of economic growth. They also paid back debt and produced a surplus. But nevermind, its only Labour that pays back debt and its only Labour that is capable of producing surpluses. The left is very good at denial.

      • r0b 5.1.1

        It’s pretty simple GC.

        The poor do much better under Labour than they do under National.

        Crime was lower under the last 9 year Labour government than under the last 9 year National.

        You do the math.

        • gingercrush 5.1.1.1

          You show a graph that sees Labour in 1999 inheriting crime rates that are falling and the poor would always do better in economic conditions that see the economy rise for nearly nine years. Yet I don’t see you supplying any information that Labour’s nine years of good economic conditions led to a decrease in prison numbers.

          • r0b 5.1.1.1.1

            You show a graph that sees Labour in 1999 inheriting crime rates that are falling

            That is just over-reading meaningless noise GC. You need the long term trends for this sort of thing.

            and the poor would always do better in economic conditions that see the economy rise for nearly nine years.

            Ahhh – no. The economy has grown for the last 18 years. But for the 9 National years the rich got richer, the poor poorer. For the 9 Labour years the income of the poor grew quicker (rises in minimum wage, working for families etc) – see my link above.

            Yet I don’t see you supplying any information that Labour’s nine years of good economic conditions led to a decrease in prison numbers.

            As far as I know they didn’t. It’s a failing of the last Labour government I think, that we kept locking too many people up. I think that Labour, in an attempt to appease the right wing vote, bought in to the “tough on crime” rhetoric far too much. So prison populations (as far as I know) did not fall, but they should have, because crime was falling.

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    I’m not an expert on prison construction, Zetitic, but I suspect you aren’t either. How do you know that the container structure will only last a couple of years? How do you know what the costs of a container are? How do you know that a prefabricated structure will be of significantly lower quality than the current build-on-site structure? How do you know if Corrections has investigated all the options for prison construction, and that the most cost-optimal design is currently being used?

    I personally think it’s excellent that the Government is looking at ways to reduce the costs of prison construction.

    • jcuknz 6.1

      Loosely speaking a container constructed by prison labour on an existing prison site would cost around $36,000 per occupant as against was it $360,000 for a occupant in a regular prison on a new site.

      This suggests to me that assuming we are compassionate people and don’t want to house crims in places like Mt Eden and Mt Crawford we want to build for the short term … say fifty years maximum to take into account developments in the future … so an easilly changed removed building has an advanatge and certainly the conditions in a properly designed ‘ so-called container’ could be superior to existing conditions.

      Since there are people turning them into regular and holiday homes around the country perhaps they are too good a solution for crims

      • Anita 6.1.1

        If we were a compassionate people and didn’t want to house crims in places like Mt Eden and Mt Crawford we would be moving toward replacing them.

        The container option makes no progress toward that.

      • don't want to out me 6.1.2

        Since there are people turning them into regular and holiday homes around the country perhaps they are too good a solution for crims

        Having done a ‘lag’, I’ve got green fingers, in the eighties I can assure you that these ‘holiday homes’ only exist in the minds of people like you jcuknz.

        The reality, prison is loneliness, boredom, absolutely no privacy, try taking a dump in public, shitty food, shitty clothing and never ending noise where the days highlight is going to work, if you’re lucky enough to have a job, and mail, if you’re one of the fortunate ones, from your loved ones
        The nights are long, cold and uncomfortable with the wailing and crying of disturbed men keeping you awake.

        Prison rape is the homo-erotic fantasy of people like yourself, the reality is stick books, masturbation and the occasional drag queen.

        The other reality is illiteracy, innumeracy and a general inability to cope with everyday life on the ‘outside’ with nothing being done to address the problems.

        I could go on but it’s late and I’ve work tomorrow at, believe it or not, the local prison.

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    Would it be better to look at ways to reduce crime and offending? I would have thought more creative solutions than this were available.

  8. craig 8

    “The only thing that will result in fewer prisoners is less crime. That will come when economic conditions for the poor improve.”

    So you’re blaming crime on the poor??

    • gingercrush 8.1

      Its ok if the left do it.

    • Craig

      The link between poverty and crime has been proven about as strongly as the link between not eating and starvation.

      It is not a case of beating up on the poor. It is a case of dealing with the causes of poverty to improve the lives of ordinary kiwis. And you wingnuts ought to be supportive of this because there is a very selfish benefit for you. Crime goes down. The chances of you being a victim of crime lessens.

      I will now don my armour and gird my loins in preparation of the shouting and gnashing of teeth and say that the crime rate per head of population decreased during the time of the Clark government. Clearly making sure that ordinary kiwis had jobs reduced the possibility that they would commit crime.

      • Anita 8.2.1

        I’ll do different shouting and gnashing of teeth 🙂

        1) I’m pretty sure not all crime is driven by poverty, the obvious example is that rich men beat their wives, commit rape and child abuse (not to mention running dodgy finance companies if you want a property crime example).

        2) I think (but don’t have any evidence to hand) that crime is more closely linked with relative poverty than absolute poverty. That is, trigger is more about the width of the gap between have and have not, than the actual amount of food/stuff in the houses. From memory the Great Depression provides handy evidence of this.

        • Merlin 8.2.1.1

          “I’m pretty sure not all crime is driven by poverty” strawman

          Yeah, it might be more accurate to talk about the gap between wealthy and poor but a bit hair-splitting.

          • Anita 8.2.1.1.1

            Yeah, it might be more accurate to talk about the gap between wealthy and poor but a bit hair-splitting.

            It matters in the discussion of the recession. If crime is increased by increases in relative poverty but not absolute poverty then if crime goes up because of the recession then it’ll be evidence that the recession is widening the gap between rich and poor by doing the most damage the poorest and leaving the wealthy relatively unscathed.

          • Merlin 8.2.1.1.2

            “the recession is widening the gap between rich and poor by doing the most damage the poorest and leaving the wealthy relatively unscathed.”

            of course that’s what happens in a recession, no great insight.

          • Redbaiter 8.2.1.1.3

            Yeah, NZ has one of the highest rates of rape because of poverty.

            FFS..!!!

        • mickysavage 8.2.1.2

          Hi Anita

          I expected my comment about how crime rates reduced under Helen to cause the gnashing of teeth!

          Overall reduced unemployment appears to have a beneficial effect on crime rates and increased unemployment appears to adversely affect it. Your comment is more sophisticated than this but I think changes in both both relative and absolute poverty will have an effect. Jealousy of increasing wealth or inability to feed one’s family can both persuade people to commit crime.

          The experience under Helen was unusual. Labour increased the number of police officers significantly. There is very strong evidence that this increases reporting of crime. More cops on the beat means more will get reported. And Labour’s “it is not ok” about domestic violence appears to have had a significant effect on reporting rates (as opposed to incident rates) of domestic violence. Despite this the overall crime rate decreased. It cannot be a coincidence that this was during a time of significant employment growth.

          To redbaiter above, relative imprisonment rates are at http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/nz-in-the-oecd/justice.htm. The New Zealand figures appear to be old.

          The best performing countries are Iceland, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland and Sweeden. Six of those countries are gold social democratic strongholds, the sort of countries Helen wanted to convert us into.

        • Rex Widerstrom 8.2.1.3

          This graph shows prison population per 100,000 from 1875 to 2001. If I knew how to use the site properly I might be able to overlay per capita income data but when I tried I only got 1980 onwards, which wasn’t all that helpful.

          However even a cursory glance suggests there’s some correlation (rises in the 1920s and early 30s, for instance) between poverty and crime.

          However in 1985 the graphs starts rocketing upwards and pretty much continues on that trajectory no matter who was in power (it actually stabilises a little from 91 – 95, then starts heading up again).

          I’d suggest, therefore, that the drivers are by no means purely economic. If only there was a scale to measure, say, the tabloidisation of our media, especially TV. Or one that showed the number of times our politicians fell back on “the streets are crawling with crims and only we can save you” rhetoric.

          Which then feeds the public’s cries to “do something!”… the “something” in this case being the arrest and incarceration of people for crimes that previously would have seen them given a warning, or the police sorting it out informally at a community level; jailing people for longer, with less rehabilitation; a rise in the number of unsafe prosecutions… and any number of similar factors, many of which statisticians would have difficulty measuring.

    • So Bored 8.3

      You are onto something there….now lets see if we were to lock up the rich, the poor would might not be tempted to rob them. And the poor might not be so poor having avoided being robbed by the rich rentiers and shareholders etc….a positive feedback loop, protecting the poor from themselves and the ravages of social inequity.

      Might not work or even be a good analysis, BUT I am sure the usual tory hacks would object.

  9. Rodney 9

    oh tim ellis what a jolly fun idea, such a vewwy excellent idea to shut pwisoners away in shipping containers because they cant be seen anymore thus reducing the visible numbers haw haw, and if they are kept inside them long enough they will stop bweathing too.

    what a splendid idea, arent tories smart..

    gee gingercrotch and tim ellis doing a bit of team building I see

    • Tim Ellis 9.1

      Here’s a better idea. Let’s buy the stamford plaza hotel and put prisoners up in there. Cheaper and much better quality accommodation so the prisoners don’t squeal about the quality of their facilities.

      Somewhere between the two extremities of hyperbole and hysteria, there might be a solution to housing prisoners at reasonable cost.

      • felix 9.1.1

        “Somewhere between the two” we would probably find, um, a prison.

        Good idea. Let’s do that.

        • Tim Ellis 9.1.1.1

          Felix, are you convinced that Corrections has explored all of the issues, and has all the answers on housing prisoners at reasonable cost?

          It would seem to me, given the enormous blow-outs in prison construction costs over the last decade, that Corrections might need a dose of fresh ideas. Pre-fabricated construction might be one of them.

          • felix 9.1.1.1.1

            Never said it wasn’t.

            Really I was agreeing with you in that the nonsense about shipping containers is as silly as the nonsense about luxury hotels.

  10. coolas 10

    Having the 2nd highest imprisonment rate in the OECD is a disgrace. Labour failed in prison reform by adopting the American model of punishment by incarceration. National are now shaping imprisonment into a business to privatise. Like any business it grows with demand so we can expect ever increasing prison populations.

    The people we imprison are our poorest and least educated, many mentally ill, and over half are Maori. So much for our caring society.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 10.1

      You’re absolutely correct, its pity the press can’t ask our corrections ministers and their shadows these basic questions (ie why is it that we are so bad at this?)

      Instead we are arguing about the construction methods of incarceration and who is going to do the plumbing.

    • craig 10.2

      OK so quickly why privitisation doesn’t have to be a bad thing…

      It’s all about how the private jails are paid. If they’re paid per head then it’s best their best interests to get as many people incarcerated as possible (and keep them there for as long as possible.)

      On the other hand, if they’re paid a set amount, it’s in their interests to have as few prisoners as possible (prisoner equals a cost eating into their bottom line).

      Likewise if you come up with a system where they’re penalised financially for every allegation of abuse against a guard, every violent incident between prisoners, and so on, it’s in their best interests to reduce these things as much as possible.

      And if you come up with a system where they’re paid by the number of NZQA credits prisoners earn then they’d focus on that.

      I’d imagine if you came up with a formula that saw private prisons paid according to re-offending rates then they’d make a far better effort to rehabilitate prisoners than is currently the case – after all, it would be making them money.

      It’s the compensation formula that is the problem, not private jails themselves.

      • Chris G 10.2.1

        “penalised financially for every allegation of abuse against a guard, every violent incident between prisoners, and so on, it’s in their best interests to not report these things as much as possible.”

        I agree with your last statement however do you really think the Nats would fund a private jail by the amount of NZQA credits the prisoners get?

        • craig 10.2.1.1

          Haha I can’t imagine them doing it in a million years. But that’s the problem – not the privitisation itself.

      • Rex Widerstrom 10.2.2

        …penalised financially for every allegation of abuse against a guard, every violent incident between prisoners … paid by the number of NZQA credits prisoners earn … paid according to re-offending rates

        Well said. Which is precisely some of the performance indicators on which at least one forward-thinking prison operator in Australia insists on being paid, because they’ve figured out it’s actually makes good business sense. It’s actually less expensive to effectively rehabilitate a prisoner and then get paid a trailing commission for each year they don’t reoffend than it is to treat them like an animal and then try and profit from locking them up again when they commit another crime.

        Which is why I vocally support private prisons, if they’re run by the right people (hint: not G4S).

  11. Helen 11

    The prison muster is up 700 this year thanks to the recession.

    Actually, it’s thanks to the expectation of entitlement attitude that the Labour voters have towards other people’s property.

    • Maynard J 11.1

      “People” as both a plural and singular, at the same time.

      Did you just Schrodinger’s a collective noun?

  12. craig 12

    “Oh and don’t think locking more dudes up will do anything to control crime. Never has.”

    Wanted to argue with this too…. If locking up people has never had any affect on crime, why do we lock anybody up???

    • Helen 12.1

      If locking up people has never had any affect on crime, why do we lock anybody up???

      That was Labour’s policy under Pol Clark.

      “My God, some beneficiaries in Rotorua have beaten a 3 year old girl to death!”

      Quick! Issue some more speeding tickets!”

    • Cause its good for keeping the poor people down, thus the rich and powerful have no reason to change anything.

  13. Ianmac 13

    It will be interesting to see the 100’s of containers all in neat lines and placed umm…where. Helensville empty sections? Yes?

  14. schrodigerscat 14

    Looking at the site Ratbiter provided we should all move to the crime free paradise of PNG, or maybe Georgia or Columbia.

    These must be the most respectable and reliable stats ever presented.

  15. Blackeyebart 15

    Prisons don’t work. Well at least they don’t reform, they don’t reduce crime in total, they dont make society safer, and and they waste a lot of money.

    But they do do one thing very well: they act as a point of common agreement, between those that are pissed off by the idea of crime, the victims, the politicians and those that are looking for an easy answer. That’s most people.

    The easy answer is the idea that people will be x% less likely to commit a crime if the punishment is increased by 20%. No-body knows what x% is, because that would take work, and no-one likes that.

    It is logical to think that professional criminals would bone up on the punishment and chose their crimes on a risk/reward basis, but not too many criminals have good statistical skills. Most of them have no idea what the punishment for their crime actually is. Ask a lawyer.

    Prisons don’t work. One day we will close them and then we will have to use our brains to reduce crime. Can’t come quick enough for me.

    • “Prisons don’t work. One day we will close them and then we will have to use our brains to reduce crime. Can’t come quick enough for me.”

      Hear hear

      If Treasury ran the prison system and did not have to deal with the law and order brigade it would throw out all current models and start again. In financial terms prisons do not work.

      • Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 15.1.1

        shoot the bastards instead, a well proven prison number reducing scheme. The population of South Auckland will halve in no time as the crimnal breeding element will be exterminated. Start with that Chonk who was convicted last week, give him Chinese justice, bullet to the back of the head.

        • felix 15.1.1.1

          The true face of the National Party shows itself again.

          • Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 15.1.1.1.1

            Felix – the true face of ordinary NZers. I say what a lot of people will not say. Pricsons should be efficient, not luxury hloiday camps we currently have. The most luxurios prison we should have as a yardstick is Mt. Eden. Anything more is a waste of taxpayer money. If you want better prisons start up a raffle and raise the money yourselves.

          • felix 15.1.1.1.2

            No Peter, that’s what retards say.

            You’re not an ordinary New Zealander Peter – you’re a fucked-up, bigoted, thick-as-pigshit neanderthal knuckle-dragging moron of a man.

            Now fuck off back to your cave and beat your kids before they grow up to be communizts and queers.

        • Chris G 15.1.1.2

          Would they shoot Graham Capill aswell? or just crims you dont like.

          • Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 15.1.1.2.1

            If the shoe fits baby. Capill is utter scum, kiddie fiddling is worse than some murders. At least he will be with his maker, so he should line up for the bullet. That make you feel better Chris, no bias:)?

      • craig 15.1.2

        So in your dream world a child rapist wouldn’t go to jail, because we wouldn’t have jails?

        • Helen 15.1.2.1

          So in your dream world a child rapist wouldn’t go to jail, because we wouldn’t have jails?

          According to the Labour worldview, there’s no such thing as “violent crime.”

          There’s only “legitimate acts of resistance against the colonial oppressors and bourgeois class-enemies by the heroes of the oppressed proletariat, yearning to break free.”

    • Chris G 15.2

      “chose their crimes on a risk/reward basis” Sadly this seems to be the common attitude towards criminals by the NACT parties and supporters.

  16. So Bored 16

    Well said Blackeyebart, some common sense at last. It seems to me that sinning against your fellow human is in the nature of the species, good old “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” territory. Its just a matter of the extent of the sin.

    What never ceases to amaze me is people wanting to “punish”, whip, lash shoot etc when any serious evaluatioon tells you punative measures merely cause resentment and a desire for counter retribution. Prisons dont reform, they are only useful for keeping genuinely dangerous people from harming you and me. And those people probably deserve to be in the now defunct psychiatric hospitals.

    I would happily lock up anybody who advocates prisons for a few days just to let them see what a waste of time they are.

  17. craig 17

    “Prisons dont reform, they are only useful for keeping genuinely dangerous people from harming you and me. And those people probably deserve to be in the now defunct psychiatric hospitals.”

    If someone is locked somewhere where they’re not allowed out, it’s a prison. You’re basically using Bushisms. Bush – they’re not POWs, they’re non-enemy combatants. You – they’re not prisons, they’re hospitals. Like what’s changing?

    I think prisons should concentrate more on rehabilitation, and I think people who commit crimes are often mentally ill and need doctors, not to be locked up in little cells. But saying we don’t need prisons at all is a joke. I mean ask someone who spent time involuntarily in a psychiatric hospital if they thought it was a prison or not…

    • So Bored 17.1

      Craig, no joke. My point is entirely that punishment in the form of prison is a proven failure. I too dont believe we can get rid of prisons altogether, just keep them for the seriously dangerous or recidevists. And you are right about psych wards, nobody sane would want to be there, which is entirely the point, lets stop dumping the insane into prisons and look after them where they belong in humane conditions.

  18. mike 18

    Yet another mess labours 9 year social experiment have left us. There is no public sympathy for crims after the soft approach from the left failed so badly.

    Peter Williams pitiful mumblings on Close up tonight had Coliins and Henry fighting back the laughter.

  19. Mike

    Some analysis please, please, please

  20. The prison system is really one monumentally huge waste of money. It’s really strange, the right and their love affair with fiscal responsibility, but as soon as the chance to beat up on some poor dumb people comes along, all that goes out the window.

    I guess part of it stems from the fact that A, even with our crime rates the way they are, they know that chances are higher crime wont effect them, and B, they know for sure its no them the system is going to beat up on.

    I also wonder, about Maori crime statistics, who decides a person who’s committed a crime is Maori, and how? As far as I’m concerned the only legitimate way is asking what they wrote on the last census. I suspect though that the fact that they have just been charged with something, makes the person ticking the boxes, far more likely to decide that someone is Maori, regardless of how they see themselves.

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  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
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    46 mins ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
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    1 hour ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
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    2 hours ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
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    2 hours ago
  • Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production
    Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand ...
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    5 hours ago
  • Mature Workers Toolkit launched on business.govt.nz
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson welcomes an initiative that assists employers to get mature workers into New Zealand small businesses. The disadvantages that older people face in the workplace was highlighted in the whole of Government Employment Strategy.  In order to address this, a Mature Workers Toolkit has been developed and ...
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    5 hours ago
  • Trans-Tasman cooperation in a COVID-19 world
    New Zealand and Australia reaffirmed today the need for the closest possible collaboration as they tackle a global environment shaped by COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. “In these challenging times, our close collaboration with Australia is more vital than ever,” said Mr Peters. Mr Peters and his Australian ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Pike recovery efforts now in unexplored territory
    The recovery and forensic examination of the loader driven by survivor Russell Smith means the underground team are now moving into an area of the Pike River Mine that has not been seen since the explosion, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little said. “The fifth and last robot ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Government confirms CovidCard trial to go ahead
    The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing. “Effective contact tracing is a vital part of the COVID-19 response,” Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said. “While manual processes remain the critical component for contact tracing, we know digital solutions can ...
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    6 hours ago
  • Enhanced process for iwi aquaculture assets
    The government is proposing changes to aquaculture legislation to improve the process for allocating and transferring aquaculture assets to iwi. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has introduced the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill to Parliament. It proposes a limited new discretionary power for Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited (ToKM). ...
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    6 hours ago
  • Bill introduced to fix National’s Family Court reform failures
    The Minister of Justice has today introduced the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill – the next step in the ongoing programme of work to fix the failed 2014 Family Court reforms led by then Justice Minister Judith Collins.  The Bill arises from the report of the Independent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • DOC takes action to adapt to climate change
    A new Department of Conservation (DOC) action plan tackles the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s biodiversity and DOC managed infrastructure including tracks, huts and cultural heritage. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says extreme weather events around the country have really brought home our vulnerability to changing weather patterns. ...
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    7 hours ago
  • Reduced international Antarctic season commences
    A heavily scaled back international Antarctic season will commence this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods have confirmed. “Antarctica is the only continent that is COVID-19 free,” Mr Peters said. “Throughout the global pandemic, essential operations and long-term science have continued at ...
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    7 hours ago
  • New high performance sports hub for Upper Hutt
    The Government is providing up to $30 million to help fund the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Upper Hutt - an investment that will create 244 jobs. “The sports hub is designed to be a world-leading shared service for a range of sports, offering the level of facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Govt keeps projects on road to completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today transport projects currently in construction will continue at pace due to extra Government support for transport projects to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. To keep the $16.9 billion 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme going the Government has allocated funding from the COVID Response and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • First project utilising $50 million ‘shovel ready’ fund for rural broadband announced
    $50 million for further rural broadband digital connectivity has been allocated from the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the COVID Response and Recovery Fund has been announced by Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure and Kris Faafoi, Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media. The investment will go to boosting broadband ...
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    9 hours ago
  • Ultra-fast Broadband programme hits major milestone with more than one million connections
    The Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has congratulated the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme on its major milestone of connecting more than 1 million New Zealand households and businesses to UFB. “This milestone has been 10 years in the making and demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network. “Uptake ...
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    11 hours ago
  • Vaping legislation passes
    Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill regulates vaping products and heated tobacco devices. “There has long been concern ...
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    19 hours ago
  • Government repeals discriminatory law
    A discriminatory law that has been a symbol of frustration for many people needing and providing care and support, has been scrapped by the Government. “Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced under urgency in 2013 by a National Government,” Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • More competitive fuel market on the way
    Kiwi motorists are set to reap the benefits of a more competitive fuel market following the passing of the Fuel Industry Bill tonight, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says.  “This Act is where the rubber meets the road in terms of our response to the recommendations made in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Government delivers on rental reforms promise
    The Government has delivered on its promise to New Zealanders to modernise tenancy laws with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill 2020 today, says Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), Kris Faafoi. “The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was out-dated and the reforms in the RTA modernise our ...
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    23 hours ago
  • New rules in place to restore healthy rivers
    New rules to protect and restore New Zealand’s freshwater passed into law today. Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the gazetting of the new national direction on freshwater management. “These regulations deliver on the Government’s commitment to stop further degradation, show material improvements within five years and ...
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    1 day ago
  • Foreign Minister announces new Consul-General in Los Angeles
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Jeremy Clarke-Watson as New Zealand’s new Consul-General in Los Angeles. “New Zealand and the United States share a close and dynamic partnership, based on a long history of shared values and democratic traditions,” Mr Peters said. “Mr Clarke-Watson is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Rental reforms provide greater support for victims of family violence
    Victims of family violence can end a tenancy with two days’ notice Landlords can terminate tenancies with 14 days’ notice if tenants assault them Timeframe brought forward for limiting rent increases to once every 12 months Extension of time Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases via phone/video conference Reform of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Apprenticeships support kicks off today
    Two employment schemes – one new and one expanded – going live today will help tens of thousands of people continue training on the job and support thousands more into work, the Government has announced. Apprenticeship Boost, a subsidy of up to $12,000 per annum for first year apprentices and ...
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    1 day ago
  • Infrastructure to transform Omokoroa
    The Government is funding a significant infrastructure package at Omokoroa which will create 150 new jobs and help transform the Western Bay of Plenty peninsula, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the Government is investing $14 million towards the $28 million roading and water package. This ...
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    1 day ago
  • Bill passes for managed isolation charges
    The Bill allowing the Government to recover some costs for managed isolation and quarantine passed its third reading today, with charges coming into force as soon as regulations are finalised. Putting regulations into force is the next step. “The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill and its supporting regulations will ...
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    1 day ago
  • Unemployment drop shows Govt plan to protect jobs and support businesses is working
    Today’s unemployment data shows the Government’s plan to protect jobs and cushion the blow for businesses and households against the economic impact of COVID-19 was the right decision, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ said today that New Zealand’s unemployment rate in the June quarter – which includes the ...
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    1 day ago
  • New role to champion reading for children
    A new role of New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people is being established, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Internal Affairs and for Children, Tracey Martin announced today. The Reading Ambassador, announced at a Celebration of Reading event at ...
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    1 day ago
  • Funding boost for Community Law Centres
    Community Law Centres will receive a funding boost to meet the increased need for free legal services due to COVID-19, Justice Minister Andrew Little said. The $3.5m funding is for the next three financial years and is additional to the almost $8 million for Community Law Centres announced in Budget ...
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    1 day ago
  • New Zealand joins initiative to boost women’s role in global trade
    New Zealand has joined Canada and Chile in a new trade initiative aimed at increasing women’s participation in global trade. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker, together with Canada’s Minister for Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrés Allamand, and Chile’s Vice ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government provides $2.2m to heritage buildings for quake strengthening
    Building owners around New Zealand have benefited from the latest round of Heritage EQUIP funding with grants totalling $2,230,166. “The Heritage EQUIP grants for seismic strengthening assist private building owners to get the professional advice they need to go ahead with their projects or support them to carry out the ...
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    1 day ago
  • Better hospital care for Northland babies and their whānau
    •    New paediatric facilities, including a Special Baby Care Unit •    Up to 50 extra inpatient beds  •    New lab facilities  Northland babies and their whānau will soon have access to improved hospital care when they need it with Health Minister Chris Hipkins today confirming new paediatric facilities and more ...
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    1 day ago
  • Green light for Wellington and Wairarapa in $220m nationwide cycleways package
    People walking and cycling between Featherston and Greytown, or along Wellington’s Eastern Bays will soon have a safe shared path, as part of a $220 million shovel-ready cycleways package announced by Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. “During lockdown we saw many more families and kids out on their bikes, ...
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    1 day ago
  • New Zealand expresses condolences on passing of Vanuatu High Commissioner
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today extended New Zealand’s condolences following the death of Vanuatu’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, Johnson Naviti, who passed away yesterday afternoon in Wellington. “Our thoughts are with the High Commissioner’s family and colleagues during this difficult time. This is a terrible loss both to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government announces allocation of three waters funds for councils
    The Government has today set out the regional allocations of the $761 million Three Waters stimulus and reform funding for councils announced by Prime Minister Hon Jacinda Ardern this month.  "I want to thank Councils around the country for engaging with the Central Local Government Steering Group who have been ...
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    2 days ago
  • Funding boost for students with highest learning support needs
    Students with high and complex learning needs, as well as their teachers and parents, will benefit from a substantial increase to Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding, Associate Education Minister Martin announced today. “Nearly $160 million will go towards helping these students by lifting their base support over the next four ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt connecting kiwis to affordable, healthy food
    Funding for innovative projects to connect Kiwis with affordable, safe and wholesome food, reduce food waste, and help our food producers recover from COVID-19 has been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “COVID-19 has seen an increasing number of families facing unprecedented financial pressure. Foodbanks and community food service ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Getting infrastructure for housing underway
    Eight shovel-ready projects within Kāinga Ora large-scale developments, and the Unitec residential development in Auckland have been given the go-ahead, Minister for Housing Dr Megan Woods announced today. Megan Woods says these significant infrastructure upgrades will ensure that the provision of homes in Auckland can continue apace. “The funding announced ...
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    2 days ago
  • Napier walk and cycleway to improve safety
    The Government is funding a new separated walking and cycleway path along Napier’s Chambers and Ellison streets to provide safer access for local students and residents across Marine Parade and State Highway 51, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Police Minister Stuart Nash announced today. Funding of $2.7 million has been ...
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    2 days ago