When 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.