Serco suspension a win for the government

This whole story was pushed out by the unions when they needed a circuit breaker to get Labour’s Asian Bashing off the front pages.

And although it’s delivered on that, the good news is that Serco have been found wanting, and the Government gets to clean it up before it gets out of control.

The Corrections Department will step in and put their own management team into the privately-run Serco prison in Mt Eden following serious allegations of assaults and other inappropriate behaviour.

The announcement was made at a press conference this afternoon following a meeting between Corrections chief executive Ray Smith and the Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.

Mr Smith says the department has invoked the “step in” clause of the contract, and says a potentially substantial financial penalty may be imposed on Serco following the spate of violent incidents at the remand prison.

The clause allows the department to insert its own prison director from Tongariro and a “crack team” of 20 from Corrections team from across the country to oversee the daily running of the prison, however, the Serco staff will remain onsite.  

New management will begin on Monday, and the length of their tenure has not been determined. Serco will bear the cost of the extra staff as well as continuing to fund the running of the prison.

“I think this is salvageable, we just have to get some good people in there,” Mr Smith says.

Had this come out close to the election, it could have done damage.

As it is, Labour had to go into its dirt files and pull a good one out that they were saving for a rainy day, and the Asian Bashing fuse flushed it out.

Sam Lotu-Iiga has gained some valuable experience.  You can already see he’s grown over the last few days.

Mt Eden will get sorted out, the tax payers get a nice fine to put into the consolidated fund, and Serco will be handed back control knowing that trying to hide essential data from the minister will only fuel the power of the unions to come and mess their lives up at a time of their own choosing.

Even Mike Williams from the Howard League for Penal Reform thinks Serco are ok and that the unions pushed this as a piece of union inspired Dirty Politics with the able assistance of the Labour party and some complicit media…unsurprisingly a newspaper.

 

– 3News


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