It looks like the government is going to line up Serco for a bollocking with the release of the latest prison scorecard.
Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga has defended the past ranking of privately run Mt Eden Prison as the best in the country, saying it was based on its record at the time.
Mt Eden Correctional Facility plummeted from first place to last place in the most recent prison league tables, which are updated every quarter.
The remand prison had topped the table of 17 prisons since the rankings were introduced three years ago.
The jail was managed by British-based company Serco, though the Corrections Department took control of the facility in July following reports of widespread violence and drug use among inmates.
Mr Lotu-Iiga has previously said that Mt Eden’s “exceptional” ranking showed that private management of prisons was working.
Asked today about his comment, he told reporters: “I had confidence when they were at the top. Clearly they’ve gone down. That was subject to the information that I had at that time.”
Later, under questioning in Parliament, he said: “I stand by that statement based on the facts that were given at the time. I made that statement in May of 2015.”