web analytics

Prison tucker

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 pm, December 19th, 2008 - 57 comments
Categories: maori party, national/act government, prisons - Tags:

pitaWhen I saw this photo of Pita Sharples tucking into a prison meal in today’s Dom Post I was hopeful it was a stunt to try and put a stop to the mean-spirited howls from talkbackland over how prisoners have it too good at Christmas time.

But what a difference a ministerial warrant and the baubles of office make. Courtesy of No Right Turn, spot the difference between what Sharples said in April this year before he signed up with National and ACT:

“Every Christmas, there is a standard feature that grabs space in every local paper.

It’s the prison Christmas menu. Last year, incidentally, it consisted of a portion of chicken, a serving of vegetables and luxury of luxuries, a Christmas mince pie. Hardly something to get excited about one would think, but the four dollar a day diet in our penal institutions falls into the same category as a series of other items that appear to fascinate readers.

You know the stories those that ask WHY are prisoners playing petanque, watching flat-screen telly, getting access to Playstations, Xboxes, internet and benefiting from the luxury of underfloor heating?

Yet without fail, every Christmas, there are also articles missing from the paper which tell a different story than the lavish dinner in the School of Hard Knocks…

And what he said in today’s Dom Post:

Associate Corrections Minister Pita Sharples rates the Christmas meal prisoners will eat next Thursday in 20 jails as better than basic average lunchtime restaurant fare.

Dr Sharples was treated to an advance serving of the Christmas lunch the 7600 prisoners will consume when he visited Rimutaka Prison yesterday in the company of Corrections Minister Judith Collins.

Dr Sharples, also the new Maori Affairs minister, tucked into the basic Christmas luncheon of vegetables, chicken and a Christmas fruit-mince pie that the prisoners will eat.

And the verdict? “Awesome.” Dr Sharples joked he was looking to accommodate his family in a secure unit outside a New Zealand prison so he could feed them each for $4.50 a day.

Mana-enhancing? Pull the other one Pita.

57 comments on “Prison tucker”

  1. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 1

    Should be mince, bread, veges, water and vitimin pills only. This is too lavish for the crims. I want to see their food bill come down to $2/day in these hard economic times.

  2. Bill 2

    “For Ms Collins, the visit was the first official inspection of a New Zealand prison by a female corrections minister. She saw her role as an overview one…”

    Making sure Pita ate his veggies was she?

  3. So the prison meals aren’t that good?

    Prisoners should of thought that before they murdered, rape, committed child abuse, stole etc etc etc.

    I wonder what type of meal their victims are having for Xmas, oh that’s right, their victims arent having meals because they are dead.

  4. Bill 4

    “Should be mince, bread, veges, water and vitimin pills only. This is too lavish for the crims.”

    You’ll be telling that to Tony, George, John and all the others who instigated the crimes against humanity in the recent past then?

    And the thieving fucking wankers from Wall Street and their cronies? What do they deserve? Oh, that’s right. A ministerial car and all the best of the good things in life.

  5. As some may know, I have been a Corrections Officer in an NZ prison. That Xmas meal isn’t too bad, so Sharples is right. But the $4.50 / day is an average, so on other days in that week prisoners will get sandwiches that may contain a single slice of beetroot or very dry coleslaw. The evening meal may be a pile of rice with a spoonful of a vege / chicken sauce ladled over it. Filling and it doesn’t taste too bad at all, but it wouldn’t cost a $1 to make. Breakfast is a cup of tea, either porridge or cornflakes or ricies….and a couple of slices of cold toast and an apple…..and you don’t get a choice. The 250ml container of milk is expected to last you the day.

    Nutritionally, it”s not bad…..but haute cuisine it certainly isn’t. The meals are cooked and dished out onto trays by prisoners, so if no one with a communicable disease like hepatitus or HIV has interfered with it, you should remain relatively healthy.

  6. Akldnut 6

    OMG – I might commit a crime during the upcoming financial meltdown. Guarrenteed food and cheap rent, better than being on the dole! What ever happened to bread and water, or hard labour?

    captcha – autority interest

  7. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 8

    Bill – so JK used to work on Wall Street, he did not start the meltdown. Also, he won the election, thankfully Labour thought well in advance and got a car that would suit his wealth and standing, the lovely BMWs.

  8. Ianmac 9

    Having visited a prison for a few hours I am sure that the TV, food, company etc is a minimal influence. The major one is the loss of freedom. Can’t wander down to the shop. Can’t decide whether to mow the lawns or leave them for another day, or just be by self when choose to. Can’t stay up late to watch a movie, or choose which channel to watch.
    Boredom, Lack of choice. Awful.

  9. gobsmacked 10

    Some folks are missing the point of Tane’s post.

    You might think they should be on bread and water, the Christmas meal is a luxury, prisoners have it easy, etc. This would put you on the right of the political spectrum.

    Pita Sharples used to argue strongly against such views. Then he got a nice new job.

  10. Billy 11

    Surely, if he was embracing his alleged new position as the evilest sellout on the planet he’d have said the food tasted like shit and that that was a good thing.

    He’s not begruging the cons their Xmas lunch. What’s your problem?

  11. Mr Magoo 12

    I hate to say it: I told you so.

    Yep. Them baubles are right up his alley…

    And no that was not a unintentional pun.

    Its all about the children, the whanau….yeeeaaaahhhh right…

  12. gobsmacked 13

    Billy:

    He’s doing exactly what he previously mocked. Just read his April speech. Read what he asked the media (and public) to start thinking about, to get beyond the cliches.

    Now he has the power to lead … and he meekly follows.

  13. Kerry 14

    Eat up Pita….with any luck you and those other coalition parties end up there for real next christmas.

  14. Django 15

    Poor old Pita, he showed that which the Standard does not approve – a sense of humour.

    Let’s all be serious all the time, let’s give each other framed Marxist quotes for Xmas and moan about life endlessly.

    The left have never really got about Maori that they are not only funny, but that a sense of humour and the ridiculous is integral to everything about their lives. I guess all the patronising they have had from successive colonialist governments has ensured they needed one to survive. Why oh why must intrepid young labour (small ‘L’) spokesmen impose their Presbyterian like dourness on us at every turn? I must promise myself not to log in here until the New Year.

    By the way blogster, a sense of humour (when it is not based entirely in sarcasm a la the Cullen/Clark variety) enhances anyone’s mana in my books and when it is a politician even doubly so.

    Back to the Maori Party – isn’t life ironic – you’re damned either way if you’re them according to some here. I mean how dare they accept a cabinet post, how dare they form their own Party away from Nanny Labour, the damned cheek of those natives 😉

  15. higherstandard 16

    Oh dear Pita gets accused of being an uncle Tom for visiting prison having a bite to eat and suggesting that the Xmas fare in prisons is up to a reasonable standard and having a bit of a joke.

    A wee bit of perspective need methinks Tane.

  16. George 17

    Django, spot on. Hilarity im sure reigns when you are at the pub.

  17. gobsmacked 18

    Django/HS

    Sharples said one thing before. He says another thing now. Do you disagree?

    The rest (“natives … uncle Tom”) is just you playing with straw.

  18. the sprout 19

    the hackneyed old righty defence when confronted with their hypocrisy:

    “you have no sense of humour”.

    always a reassuring confirmation of a hit when you get that retort.

    suck it up boys, and learn to develop a taste for it because there’s an awful lot more of that on your menu for the next 3 years.

  19. Django 20

    the sprout, the reason the right always come at the left with the “you have no sense of humour” is that it is largely true.

    Problem with the left when it comes to comedy is threefold. 1): firstly – there’s a dearth of material for starters. That’s because they won’t laugh at themselves which is a pity really because there is a hell of a lot to laugh at. So, with that left wide open it’s open season for the right. 2):Another thing about the left is fear of offending – there’s just so much you won’t lampoon for fear of upsetting some sandal wearing faction or another. 3): Then there’s a matter of time. When you’re too busy blogging endlessly,preoccupied with overthrowing capitalism, entrenching worker rights or saving whales and forests there’s not much of the day left for funnies.

    [lprent: I suspect that it has more to do with the type of humour. There are a lot of people that like American sitcoms (which I detest) and find something like this unfunny.
    “GUILLOTINE: A French chopping centre”
    (linux bash quote)
    I suspect it more the sense of humour that you have that is at fault. ]

  20. Rex Widerstrom 21

    Thanks, Steve Withers, for making several points I wanted to make about the $4.50 being an average etc. And you’re right about the food the rest of the time… one night it’s “chow mein” – watery, greasy mince with some soya sauce spooned over macaroni – the next it’s “chill con carne” – watery, greasy mince with the merest trace of hot sauce spooned over macaroni. After throwing up so many times I lost count, I’d swap my meals for a piece of fruit and a couple of slices of precious fruit bread.

    Low cost, low quality milk so lacking in calcium that I need $30,000 worth of dental work to fix up the damage. Rarely any fresh vegetables, never any salad, not much fruit.

    I lost over 20kg in a matter of months (not that I couldn’t afford to, I’d just rather have done it without the attendant ill health). And yes, it’s the prisoners with Hep C (and AIDS for all I know), who were assigned to dish up the meals in our wing!

    But I can see that this will merely provoke a barrage of ill-informed “let’s hope they all get sick and die!” commentary, ignoring the fact that most prisoners aren’t inside for murder, rape and other violent crimes. Ignoring the fact that many prisoners are on remand and thus considered innocent (as I was). Ignoring the fact that one is sent to prison as punishment, not to be punished (and that a sumptuous banquet fit for Henry VIII wouldn’t make up for being separated from family on Christmas).

    And most importantly of all, ignoring the fact that – aside from the worst, most violent recidivists – it’s a statistical fact that prisons which treat their inmates reasonably achieve much lower rates of reoffending (and thus less risk to the community) than those which punish harshly.

    But I guess the vicarious thrill of watching others suffer outweighs not only humanitarian concerns for prisoners, but actually keeping the community safe.

    Considering the ability to feel pleasure at another’s suffering is a characteristic that marks out some of our worst offenders, I have to wonder whether some people baying for harsh treatment in prisons aren’t on the wrong side of the razor wire.

    And Pita Sharples? Well golleee Missa Collins, you sure got yo’self a well behaved boy there.

  21. Peter Burns 22

    I can assure you that the mashed spuds are not recommended when certain prisoners work in the kitchen.Spoof tucker!

  22. Rex:

    The people who commit VIOLENT crimes are on the right side of the wire, the people who obey the law and don’t hurt people are also on the right side of the wire.

    Yes there a lot of people in prison for crimes that weren’t violent, but aren’t most non violent offenders getting home detention, now days?

    In terms of the violent criminals, say the few that rape and murder, its hard to feel sorry for them for getting cold mash potatoes, when their victims are dead and cant eat anything.

  23. dave 24

    Tane, do you know what “mana-enhancing” means? Doesn’t sound like it. Perhaps you can use that phrase a within a context that is a little more relevant in future.

    [Tane: Dave, I’m well aware what it means. Perhaps you should work on your comprehension skills.]

  24. Bill 25

    Rex and Steve.

    Thanks to both of you for the informative and insightful comments.

    As for Pita? Well, my impression is that Rex hit the nail on the head really. Nuff said.

  25. Rex Widerstrom 26

    Brett:

    One of the things I plan todo with my “leisure” time over Christmas is to do some analysis of the statistics relating to prisons. But I can’t believe there is so much violent crime in NZ that Corrections are warning the government it needs four more prisons just to accommodate the offenders… that suggests to me that police, prosecutors and judges are throwing into prison people for whom alternative outcomes would produce a better result (the policeman dressing taggers in pink vests and making them clean up their mess comes to mind. Rather than heroes for having “done time” for a few months, they look like the dickheads they are).

    One statistic I do have is that around 30 percent of people in jail are serving around 13 weeks (i.e. sentences of six months). Again it’s an assumption on my part at this stage but I very much doubt anyone’s getting a six month sentence for the kind of violent crime that I find just as abhorrent as do you.

    Rapists and murderers I’d like to see working (within a secure prison) to earn money both to pay for a nutrional diet for themselves and to generate some restitution (however inadequate) for their victims and/or victims families.

  26. QoT 27

    And Brett again illustrates the classic “Oh, not scum like YOU” defence of conservatives faced with actual people rather than the strawmen they prefer beating on.

    I just want to know what moron adviser didn’t bring up the hilariously bald-faced hypocrisy to Sharples before the visit. If I were in a more paranoid mood, I’d wonder if this were another part of the National Party Three-Year Plan to completely demolish the Maori Party’s credibility.

  27. Alexandra 28

    The point made relates to what looks like a flip flop by Pita Sharples. I dont believe that is the case, however Shaples needs to learn to avoid falling into the media agenda of his political partners. His use of humour is understandable but unwise, as it serves to reinforce the impression that he and his party, has sold out!. I dont accept the argument re; the baubles of office. Sharples has led a full life and is well educated. If making money was his priority, he has had plenty of opportunity to pursue that goal. Instead he has chosen to live his life serving the needs of his community.
    That said, I recognise the contraction with maori aspirations and the mp’s affair with the Nats. Im hoping, once the romance wears off, it will be a short lived one.

  28. Zorr 29

    “If making money was his priority, he has had plenty of opportunity to pursue that goal.”

    People don’t become politicians for the money (oh wait, 6 figure salaries… not much at all) but more for the power and ‘prestige’ that such a position provides.

    So far in all their actions the Maori Party has come out looking like a lap dog to all Nationals principles. And this flip flop by Pita Sharples was well predicted before the election. I feel sorry for all the Maori that put their faith in them and gave them their vote and now only have this hollow resemblance of a party that cares about their needs.

  29. QoT:

    Where did I say “not scum like you?”, the left has always try to interpret what the right is saying.

    I’m saying I don’t feel sorry if some violent offender has cold mash potatoes, because their victims aren’t having any because they are dead.

    If some boy racer kills someone and goes to prison, then I don’t feel sorry for them either.

    The people I feel sorry for is the people who were mentioned in the book that came out about ten years ago called, “Consenting Americans and the laws they break”

    Basically the people, who crimes had no victims, they are ones who should be sent to work and have their wages taken away to pay society.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth, I don’t do that to you.

    It has nothing to do with facing a real person, because murderers, child rapists aren’t real people.

  30. Rex Widerstrom 31

    Brett:

    An attitude which says “murderers, child rapists aren’t real people” is very dangerous, because they are real people, people like you and me, whether we are comfortable admitting it or not. They’re someone’s son, maybe someone’s father, husband, brother, workmate, friend.

    If we view such people as “other” we hamper our ability to identify them and perhaps intervene before they cause harm.

    And we completely destroy our ability to understand their motives and thus deter them before they offend or at least prevent them from re-offending when released.

    Take a murderer – that can be anyone from a cold-blooded killer who commited the act for financial gain to a violent psychopath to a bloke who finds his wife in bed with someone else and has a moment of madness. They’re individuals, their motives and pathologies are different, and if we don’t acknowledge that then we’re creating a timebomb for ourselves by treating the cuckolded husband the same way we treat the psychopath.

    It also totally denies the suffering they inflict on their secondary victims – their parents, siblings, children and friends who are left asking “How could I not know?” and “What could I have done to stop this?”.

    You seem to typify someone whose personal hatred of criminals blinds you to the proven advantages to society of treating them as individuals. And that doesn’t mean treating them all softly, it means treating them appropriately – and for some that might mean the kind of militaristic prison that exists in Japan (and to which Greedy Pig has helpfully provided a documentary link above) while for others it may be a restorative approach.

  31. George Darroch 32

    Brett, I won’t speak for QoT, she’e more than capable of doing that, but it’s been presented to you that “real people” are in prison.

    And that prisons that actually treat their prisoners like human beings (real people) have lower reoffending rates. That revenge fantasy that you and David Garrett indulge in might make you feel good, but it won’t help the excess victims that such a prison regime will cause.

  32. ak 33

    But I guess the vicarious thrill of watching others suffer outweighs not only humanitarian concerns for prisoners, but actually keeping the community safe.

    Thank you Rex: beautiful sentiments in above comments, and nicely put.

    If I may be so bold: resist the urge to cavort with the sewer rats at farrableugh, cultivate the sensibilities and deductions you have proffered today, and you have a great deal to offer the country yet.

    And Pita Sharples? Well golleee Missa Collins, you sure got yo’self a well behaved boy there.
    Sublime.

  33. George: Where in my post do I have some revenge fantasy???

    Yes Prisoners should be treated humanely, they should be provided with the basics of shelter, food, water, the general public should also feel safe.

    I have also stated that no violent prisoners and people who did a crime where they was no victim should be sent to work and their wages put into society.

    Yes its a good idea to make taggers and boyracers pay for their crime and made to clean up their mess and not sent them to prison.

    Yes it must be awful for family members of the real violent criminals, but its sadder for their victims who have lost love ones, so im sorry if that makes me a bad person for not having much sympathy for a child rapist/killer who has has one slice of ham and dry coleslaw on his sandwich.

    I think the world just has bad people and no amount of help will change them, there was another book I read called “The Blank Slate, the denial of human nature”

    Basically it argued the old thing of Nature versus nurture.

    It focused on two brothers, one was the dean of a college the other was a serial killer.

    A good read.

  34. Ianmac 35

    The way a particular society treats its aged or young or its criminals is indicative of the whole society. So I look at not just the convicted who are presumably dealt to by a robust system.
    I have a hard look at those in society who always seek revenge and punishment. Sensible ST. They reflect a punitive society which is a sure sign of a sick part of society. There are some groups of folk who are victims or the family of victims who are able to live in forgiveness. They stand out as an ideal. (I am an agnostic so I don’t mean in a biblical sense!) Otherwise unforgiving chews up the unforgiver and probably those around him/her.

  35. RedLogix 36

    It has nothing to do with facing a real person, because murderers, child rapists aren’t real people.

    This sentence expresses what is called “dehumanisation”. Humans use this mechanism to justify the otherwise unpalatable or barbaric treatment we visit upon those whom we regard as outsiders, outlaws or enemies. By stripping the “krauts”, the “gooks” or “charlies” of their innate status as fellow humans, the soldier in battle assuages (often just temporarily) the promptings of his conscience. By dehumanising those who have committed offenses against us, we can indulge and justify all manner of retribution (both real and emotive) against them, again without feeling too much in the way of shame.

    It is an easy, slippery step, especially in troubled times when passions are aroused, to move from dehumanising the murderer, the rapist and such… to dehumanising those who offend us with their political opinions, their race, culture, sexuality and so on.

  36. Taane 37

    [lprent: yourself dad or none else?]

  37. Taane 38

    Redlogix – apologistic psycho babble mate.

    Society sets rules to protect the majority. Its called survival of the species. Scum like that deserve to be dehumanised.

  38. Ianmac 39

    Redlogix: Well said. More succinct than my effort but great.

    By the way off topic don’t know where to put this, but did you see that the November figure for immigration to Australia has gone UP from 27,200 last November to 35,300 this year. Does that mean that the prospect of a certain win for Nat/Act caused even more people to leave? Or else as always the politics probably have nothing to do with it but lets beat the Governmint with their own stick????

  39. RedLogix 40

    Brett,

    And I recall many years ago a rather well known barrister speaking on his retirement. The man had defended many high profile murderers. In his experience the huge majority of people (about 85%) convicted of homocide (murder/manslaughter etc) were just ordinary people who had been entangled in extraordinary circumstances which had led them to commit a tragic act. An act that they were never likely to repeat in their lives.

    He thought only a small minority of killers were irredemmably evil people, people with no shame or conscience, psychopaths and moral cripples who represented an ongoing danger to society all their lives.

    It is the role of the individual to forgive and offer compassion, the role of society to administer justice and impose punishment. The most frequent mistake made is to invert these roles.

    (PS As Taane is making right now. In his mindless hatred, for that is what it is, he places himself on the same low moral plane as those he professes to loath.)

  40. For myself, prison should be about keeping the public safe, and there are some prisoners who should always be kept away from the public because they will never rehabilitate.

  41. Rex Widerstrom 42

    ak:

    Thank you for such kind words. It is, therefore, churlish of me to point out that by characterising everyone who comments at Kiwiblog as “sewer rats” you’re indulging in just the sort of dehumanising process Red Logix talks about above 😛 😉

    I genuinely find a great deal of good sense and stimulating opinion there, as I do here. Then again, I also find Redbaiter and randal and rave, all of whom provide a sort of looking glass into a parallel universe where the Cold War is still hot, the Summer of ’69 still shines, and absolutes are the Only True Way 🙂

    Meanwhile Taane says:

    Society sets rules to protect the majority. Its called survival of the species.

    Yes it does. It does not, however, follow that those rules are always right. If, as your nick suggests, you’re of Maori heritage you might like to reflect on the “rules” that were applied to your ancestors by some of the early Governors of New Zealand. If you’re not, there are plenty of other examples of “majority rules” that were wrong, from apartheid to the Final Solution.

    (No, I haven’t descended into Godwinism… both those things are immeasurably worse than bad prisons policy. That’s the point – they too were strongly supported by societies which saw them as vital for their respective survival).

  42. Greedy Pig 43

    How is the deterrence value of our prison system measured?
    Or is that question loaded with assumptions and values we don’t approve of? I recall reading Rufus Marsh saying he “liked Paremaremo” (north and South).

  43. RedLogix 44

    Brett,

    Of course prisons are at one level about keeping the public safe. But the fact is that the majority of people in them are perfectly harmless. Only a small minority of criminals are dangerous recividists.

    I’ve encountered many, many people who express the same feelings you have, that all criminals are ‘scum’ and deserve neither sympathy nor forgiveness. This is an understandable instinctive reaction to those who hurt or threaten us. In a primitive world, we react to threat with counterattack. It is wired into our emotional selves to dehumanise outlaws, outsiders and enemies so that we can carry out these counterattacks more efficiently. In the modern context, this means celebrating the conviction of the guilty and taking pleasure in exacting a revenge upon them.

    The danger of emotionally driven revenge is that it so readily steps beyond legitimate retribution, to committing new acts of injustice itself. And in doing so perpetuates endless cycles of attack and revenge, locking generations into hatred and destruction.

    One of the critical developments of civilisation is the notion of forgiveness and openess to the the possibilities of reconciliation and redemption. These are rational (as distinct from emotional) notions that act as circuit breakers to endless cycles of hatred. The victim of injustice who overcomes their natural hurt and grief to forgive their oppressor is not only cleansing themselves of toxic emotions, but serving the wider good of society as well. The implicit trade-off that we make is this; civilisation requires that we abdicate our personal desire for retribution, and entrust instead the institutions of society to impose justice on our behalf.

    But mostly I find that the “hang the scum high” brigade lack honesty. The reason is this; that they lack self-reflection to understand that most people who commit horrible crimes are in truth just ordinary people, people we grew up with, people who could have been family, friends or workmates. Most of us are deeply unwilling to understand or admit that but for a few changes in circumstances, a few wrong chances and choices in our own lives, that in our own fall from grace each one of us is equally capable of committing the unthinkable.

    This is the insight that stays the hand of revenge and stills the bitter winds of hatred; frees the victim from the burden of hurt and opens the door for accountability, due punishment and justice.

    PS Rex I really liked your rather more pragmatic argument above… 🙂

  44. Ianmac 45

    Redlogix: Good stuff. Think of those communities who never forgive like I imagine many who live in Ireland. Look how badly the longterm resentment festered, and the societal damage that ensued. Must be heaps who call for vengance utu for generations of ill-will. So where do the SST and ilk fit in to a healthy society?

  45. Greedy Pig 46

    People have been managing their communities for a long time and developed something called “social intelligence”. There needs to be a point of difference a set of boundaries and meaningful consequences.
    We all suffer for your efforts, ding -dongs.

  46. QoT 47

    Brett, it’s the point at which you go from “Prisoners should have thought of that before they committed crime” to “VIOLENT criminals”, right after someone, eloquently, calmly, and clearly from the freedom of their own home or office, relates their experience of prison meals.

    That’s when one is always guaranteed a quick sleight-of-hand, pretend-you-meant-something-else change of heart. “Oh, no, Rex, not prisoners like YOU. Just the VIOLENT ones, and quick, let me make the huge assumption that the nice crims – the ones like YOU, Rex – all get home detention these days anyway! Whew, hope no one noticed that gigantic change in tone once I was called on my generalising bullshit.”

  47. Ianmac 48

    QoT: Hear Hear. Big tick!

  48. QOT:

    When I talk of criminals that who I mean, I dont mean some hippy who may be in jail because he smoked dope.

  49. Rex Widerstrom 50

    RedLogix:

    Well I quite liked your eloquent plea that we seek for the best in ourselves in the hope that it will instil the best in others 🙂 In fact I plan to plagiarise vast tracts of it the next time I’m asked to speak at a Prison Reform Group conference 😀

    QoT:

    I’ve been occasionnaly called nice and sometimes called a criminal but never in the same sentence. Thank you. I think 😀

  50. Sharples appears to have a history of trying to be constructive. The way I understand that, you take the good bits and start from there, trying to expand them and add to them as best and as far as you are able. This is true of almost everything we do in any context. If we aren’t doing that, we are doing it wrong….and whether we want to admit that or not, reality won’t care.

    I won’t slag Sharples yet. Looks to me like he is being contractive. In Opposition, he rightly did his job and criticised. Now, in supporting this government, he appears to be being constructive.

    They may be lead onward and onward by National with the promise of progress tomorrow if they will only just support this – whatever – today.

    Time will tell how well he and the others do.

    As for prisons, one last comment. The food isn’t very good, as Rex says, but rest assured it is the BEST part of being in prison. You’re in there with some of the worst arse holes NZ can muster…and you spend most of the 5-6 hours you’re not locked in your cell each day in their company. Gangs, bullies, killers…..the lot.

    For many prisoners, when they get locked for supper each day, it means they’ve made it through another day in one piece.

    In prison, the arseholes thrive while the rest survive. “Namby-pamby” it isn’t. That would be a view held by the arrogant ignorant…..who are almost always wrong, I’ve been discovering daily for several years now.

    National can say whatever they like. In the end, reality doesn’t give a rat’s. So it was in 1999…and so it will be in the future as long as they ignore reality: how people really behave, what people really need.

  51. Rex Widerstrom 52

    Thanks again, Steve, for insight from someone who’s seen the inside of prison from the other perspective. Perhaps we should go on a joint speaking tour? 😀

    I just wish the NZ media, instead of swallowing both major party’s “all criminals are scum, we’re tougher than the other lot on law ‘n’ order” bullshit, would write some stuff like this in The Weekend Australian today. An extract:

    As uniformed guards pound the grey concrete walkways of the Northern Territory’s largest prison, a man calls out from the jail’s isolation block.

    His name is Adrian Faulton. He is a severely intellectually disabled young Aboriginal man from Wadeye with the mental age of a toddler. For months the 25-year-old has been locked in a small concrete cell in A block, the most austere unit of Darwin’s overflowing Berrimah Prison Since the age of 15, he has committed crimes ranging from stealing to drinking in public, escalating as he got older to low-range sexual assault and indecent exposure

    The only alternative available to the public guardian in guaranteeing community safety is a 22-hour lockdown of a brain-damaged young man who is becoming more distressed by the day.

    “When getting out?’ Mr Faulton asks of anyone who will talk to him. He spends his hours pacing back and forth in his cell, periodically asphyxiating himself as a distraction from the blank horror of his days, squeezing his throat with his thumb and shutting off the airway.

    Most nights, his wailing resounds in the isolation wing.

    “On Monday1 December, Mr Faulton’s mother visited him and she spent the entire visit weeping and attempting to hold him He appeared confused during this process. After she departed he was observed at his worst, whereby he fell down on his hands and knees in the yard and literally wailed and sobbed in what appeared to be a helpless and painful manner.

    “He called out to ‘go home, please, please’ for approximately 30 minutes after his mother departed.’

    I really truly wish I could take some of the “hang ’em high” brigade on a walk through our prisons, not just an arms-length inspection but a sit down with the prisoners and the COs. If they didn’t come out of that experience with some compassion, then I really would have to question whether the right people are on the inside of the institutions.

  52. Surly he belongs in a mental hospital?

  53. RedLogix 54

    Poverty.

    Deficient Diet.

    Fatherless boys.

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

    Brain Damage, Drugs, Mental Illness.

    Babies born into this world, fated before they reach even school, to be ‘prison tucker’.

    If only, if only somehow we I had the guts to genuinely change these things, we would be closing prisons, not planning to build more of these evil god-forsaken places.

    Brett,

    Read the whole article and weep.

  54. Rex Widerstrom 55

    Correct, Brett. But from the article again:

    The most critical of Darwin’s mentally ill prisoners find beds in one of two units: the Joan Ridley Unit and the Cowdy ward, both at Royal Darwin Hospital. The units have 26 beds in total, and the dire shortage means that many of the mentally ill find themselves locked in isolation in prison.

    And if the mental health system failed him, then perhaps some community group may be able to help, if only the NT Police and “justice” system would stop sticking people in jail at the behest of their political masters:

    The NT Government’s focus on mandatory sentencing for violent assaults reached fever pitch during this year’s election campaign, when the Government promised mandatory sentencing for any assault intended to cause harm – a definition so broad that lawyers questioned whether one punch could result in a jail term.

    So as a result:

    …there has been a 25 percent increase in summary prosecutions in the NT in the past year, but no commensurate increase in the prosecution of more serious offences.

    People in prison for trivial, mostly non-violent (or low level violent) offences. And being treated like “scum” because the public are too conditioned to think of all prisoners as being represented by the handful of sadistic, violent thugs who make the newspapers.

    That “fever pitch” came from a Labor Government desperate to hang on to power, by the way. Sickeningly, all the Liberals did was try and outbid them by promising even greater inhumanity.

  55. Bill 56

    It crosses my mind that the ‘tough on crime’ b/s might be best viewed in terms of the 20/80 model for society. I came across the concept in a book some years ago. Apparently a conference attended by, among others, Gorbachev and Thatcher put forth the idea that the good things of society ( education, health care etc) would be accessible to 20% of the population while the other 80% would be largely excluded. Their role would be ‘to get by’, produce and provide the services for the 20% while being subjected to ‘appropriate’ measures of state control.

    At the time, I skimmed through the book and did wonder whether it was actually for real. As time has passed and the 3rd World appears more and more to begin not too far from our own doorstep rather than being firmly located beyond our national borders, I wish I could relocate the book and give it closer attention.

    Social provisions are deteriorating in the west and access to them becoming ever more difficult. Meanwhile prison populations appear to be ‘blowing out’ in many countries and this ‘tough on crime’ mantra taken as ‘a given’ in country after country.

    Going through a list of social indicators ( levels of homelessness, mental health provisions, reemergence of poverty related diseases and illnesses in the west, generational decrease in relative wealth for the majority, falling life expectancy) …I see a general pattern; a path being mapped out.

    Maybe the 20/80 divide was one journalists imagination or vision. Maybe my initial reaction to the book was correct; that he was inventing events such as the conference he said took place. Regardless.

    Positive social provisioning gets further from being universal rather than closer as time passes while negative social factors increase (prisons, measures of control, propagation of fear through propaganda) . In short, the general welfare of populations appears to be degrading.

    Put in the context of what could well be a sort of endless grinding recession ( where’s the next stimulatory bubble coming from? The necessary finite resources are at what state of depletion/ degradation?) and the future may well become a struggle against the setting of that division between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’; a pulling up of the ladders by the ‘haves’ in an attempt to preserve the fruits of capitalism for themselves while the rest are consigned to something far less desirable.

    Food for thought perhaps? Anyway, must go and ‘kick an employer in the head’. Happy Monday!

  56. uroskin 57

    Pita bread and water, merry xmas

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Coalition Govt’s investment in Customs nets record drugs haul: 3 tonnes stopped at borders in 2019
    The Coalition Government’s investment in a strong border and disrupting transnational organised crime produced record results for stopping drugs in 2019, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The illegal drugs were seized at the New Zealand border by Customs, and overseas by Customs’ international border partners before the drugs could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Separated scenic cycleway starts
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off construction of a separated cycleway alongside Tamaki Drive. A two-way separated cycleway will be built along the northern side of Tamaki Drive, between the Quay Street Cycleway extension and Ngapipi Road. There will be a separate walking path alongside. Phil Twyford said giving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Earthquake-Prone Building loan scheme: eligibility criteria announced
    Owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings will have certainty about the financial support they’ll be eligible for with the release of criteria for an upcoming assistance scheme, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Travel restrictions to remain in place as coronavirus precaution
    Temporary restrictions on travel from China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The restrictions which prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering New Zealand have been extended for a further 8 days. This position ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Over $1 million to help Tairāwhiti youth into employment
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today that Tairāwhiti rangatahi will benefit from an investment made by the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme. The funding will go to the Tautua Village, Kauneke programme and the Matapuna Supported Employment Programme which will fund 120 rangatahi over two years. “Both programmes work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • School attendance has to improve
    All parents and caregivers need to ensure that their children go to school unless they are sick, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin said today. “The school attendance results for 2019 show, across the board, a drop in the number of students going to school regularly,” the Minister says. “Apart from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Crown and Moriori sign a Deed of Settlement
    A Deed of Settlement agreeing redress for historical Treaty claims has been signed by the Crown and Moriori at Kōpinga Marae on Rēkohu (Chatham Islands) today, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little has announced. Moriori have a tradition of peace that extends back over 600 years. This settlement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Waikato Expressway driving towards completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today with Māori King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII officially opened the country’s newest road, the $384 million Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway. The 15km four-lane highway with side and central safety barriers takes State Highway 1 east of Huntly town, across lowlands and streams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 3400 New Zealanders treated in first year of new hepatitis C treatment
    The rapid uptake of life-saving new hepatitis C medicine Maviret since it was funded by PHARMAC a year ago means the elimination of the deadly disease from this country is a realistic goal, Health Minister David Clark says. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which attacks the liver, proving fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Kaupapa Māori approach for homelessness
      Kaupapa Māori will underpin the Government’s new plan to deal with homelessness announced by the Prime Minister in Auckland this morning. “Māori are massively overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness, so, to achieve different outcomes for Māori, we have to do things very differently,” says the Minister of Māori Development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government steps up action to prevent homelessness
    1000 new transitional housing places delivered by end of year to reduce demand for emergency motel accommodation. Introduce 25% of income payment, after 7 days, for those in emergency motel accommodation to bring in line with other forms of accommodation support. Over $70m extra to programmes that prevents those at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Important step for new financial conduct regime
    Clear requirements for ensuring customers are treated fairly by banks, insurers and other financial service providers are included in new financial conduct legislation that passed its first reading today. “The recent reviews, by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand, into the conduct of banks and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Applications invited for $7 million Regional Culture and Heritage Fund
    Applications are now open for the fifth round of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson announced today.   “I am delighted to open this year’s fund which has some $7 million available to support performing arts venues, galleries, museums and whare ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Law Commission appointment celebrates Māori and women
    The Minister of Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu on her appointment as the next President of the Law Commission.  “Amokura Kawharu will be a standout in her new role, leading in an innovative and forward looking approach to the law reform process. She will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu Appointed Law Commission President
    Auckland University legal academic Amokura Kawharu has been appointed as the next President of the Law Commission, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today.    Associate Professor Kawharu will take up her new appointment on 11 May 2020.   “I would like to congratulate Associate Professor Kawharu on her appointment,” Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister of Employment launches Youth Ready Employer Programme
    A programme for employers to help them engage effectively with younger employees was launched today by Minister of Employment, Willie Jackson. The Youth Ready Employer Programme contains a range of on-line templates that employers can easily access to help with employing and retaining young people in their businesses. The programme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Budget 2020 date announced
    Budget 2020 will be delivered on Thursday 14 May, Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “This year’s Budget will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also preparing the economy for the future. “Those challenges and opportunities cannot be resolved in one budget, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s tribute to former Prime Minister Mike Moore
    I move, That this House place on record its appreciation and thanks for the devoted and distinguished service to New Zealand by the late Rt Hon Michael Kenneth Moore, member of the Order of New Zealand, a member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, an Honorary Member of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Agriculture Minister declares adverse event in Northland
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has today classified the drought conditions in Northland as an adverse event for the primary sector, unlocking $80,000 in Government support. “This is recognition that the extreme and prolonged nature of this dry spell is taking its toll on our farmers and growers and additional support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police disrupt methamphetamine trade
    The Minister of Police says an operation to smash a trans national drug smuggling ring today will make a significant impact on the methamphetamine trade fuelling harm in our communities. Police have announced 10 arrests and the seizure of up to five million dollars’ worth of illicit drugs after an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Crown accounts in good shape to counter global challenges
    The Government’s books are in a strong position to withstand global headwinds, with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the six months to December. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Racing Safety Development Fund open for applications
    Race courses can improve safety with this year’s second round of funding from the Racing Safety Development Fund. Minister for Racing Winston Peters has announced the second funding round of 2019/20 is open with $347,875 available for distribution. “The racing industry is integral to the economic and social fabric of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government to fund Aids research
    The Government is committing $300,000 to fund research to update behavioural information to make sure HIV and STI prevention services are targeted appropriately in New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson made the announcement at today’s Big Gay Out in Auckland. “There is much talk about ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work to begin on a possible new public media entity
    The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has announced work will begin on a business case to assess the viability of forming a new public media entity.   “The Government must ensure New Zealanders have a strong independent public media service for decades to come, which means ensuring public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government support for communities impacted by flooding
      Minister of Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare announced today that the Government will contribute $100,000 to the Southland regional Mayoral Relief Fund, to support communities impacted by the recent flooding in Southland.  Mr Henare says this week’s flooding has caused significant disruption to communities in the lower South Island.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New grants for seismic strengthening of heritage buildings
    Heritage buildings throughout New Zealand will benefit from the $1.1 million in Heritage EQUIP funding grants announced today. “These grants for seismic strengthening projects help private building owners get the advice they need to start building work or to get the work completed,” Grant Robertson says. “Timaru’s Grosvenor Hotel has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Next level results for game development industry
    A new survey has found New Zealand’s game development sector has grown beyond expectations and is on track to becoming a billion dollar industry in 2025, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says. “New Zealand’s interactive media sector grew by 42 per cent in last financial year to $203.4 million, according ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More than 70 marae online through PGF
    Te Tii, the lower marae at Waitangi, is among more than 70 marae now connected to broadband internet thanks to the Provincial Growth Fund’s marae connectivity scheme, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today. In February 2019, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) allocated $21 million to connect rural towns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF supports West Coast connectivity
    The West Coast has had a funding injection of over $1.2 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika today.  The PGF projects announced are:  $800,000 to Development West Coast for a Grey District Regional Digital Hub ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Agriculture Minister declares adverse event in Southland
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has declared an adverse event for the Southland and Otago regions, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers. “Widespread flooding has resulted in severe disruption, with many people evacuated from their homes and many farms being affected by flood waters. It’s putting pressure on our farmers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM announces public funeral service for Mike Moore
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a funeral service for former Labour Prime Minister the Rt Hon Mike Moore, ONZ, AO. A public service will be held on Friday 14 February at 2pm at Dilworth School senior campus, 2 Erin Street, Epsom, Auckland. “The service will be a celebration of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Low unemployment shows economy in good shape
    Today’s news of low unemployment, rising wages and record numbers of Maori in work shows the economy is in good shape and that the Government is delivering better outcomes across New Zealand. “The Coalition Government has overseen a strong economy. Our investments in infrastructure, our focus on lifting wages of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Opening of Waitangi Museum Te Rau Aroha
    Opening of Waitangi Museum Te Rau Aroha 9.30am, 5 February 2020 [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Good morning, Let us start with important acknowledgements. First, this special day, in remembrance of the 28th Maori Battalion, is also to honour all those men and women who have risked their lives in the service ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Support for crayfish industry after disruptions
    The government has agreed to help crayfish exporters to minimise the impact of trade disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China. Between 150 and 180 tonnes of live rock lobster are currently held in New Zealand in pots and tanks, at sea and on land, after export orders were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Rural Communities Minister visits Southland flooding response
    Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor is travelling to Southland today. The region is in a state of local emergency following widespread flooding. “I’m heading down there to support response and recovery efforts and meet with the locals”, he said. “A lot of people have been evacuated from their homes, have suffered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori armed forces honoured at new Waitangi museum
    Te Rau Aroha, a new museum at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, acknowledges the duty and sacrifice of Māori who served in New Zealand’s armed forces, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The museum, whose construction was funded by the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), was officially opened today at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Recognising more of New Zealand’s Top Scholars
    More top-performing students can now be recognised with one of New Zealand’s most prestigious secondary school awards, in changes announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins today. “Changes to New Zealand Scholarship awards will allow more young people to be acknowledged for their significant academic achievements,” Chris Hipkins said. “Up to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s 2020 Waitangi speech
    E nga iwi e pae nei ki runga o Waitangi Karanga mai, mihi mai. Nga aitua o te tau kua hipa, koutou e Ta Hek, e Pita, e Piri, e Mike, Koutou Katoa, Harae atu ra. Tenei te Whakarongo atu nei ki nga kupu korero. Kei aku rangatira e hui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Diplomatic Corps
    ***Check against delivery*** Tēnā koutou katoa. Acknowledgements to the many Heads of Mission gathered this evening. It is good to see so many nations represented here to share in this 180th commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Welcome, especially to those for whom this is your first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Waitangi Whaikōrero 2020
    It was on these very grounds in February 1940, 100 years on from the signing of Te Tiriti, that Sir Āpirana Ngata gave a call for participation He spoke of the “price of citizenship” for Māori as the 28th Māori Battalion prepared to go to war just 3 months later. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago