As predicted, stories are now surfacing over Serco at Wiri

UNDER-FIRE Serco is facing renewed pressure over its management of the Auckland South Corrections Facility at Wiri just a day after losing its lucrative contract to run Mt Eden Prison.

A major question mark is hanging over the Government?s privatisation prison programme following controversy about prison fight clubs, illegal contraband, unreported beatings and a rising suicide rate.

In July the Government stepped in and took back control of Mt Eden Prison from Serco after a series of wide-ranging allegations, including claims inmates had been physically assaulted and thrown off balconies in a practice known as ?dropping?.

Yesterday the Government finally said enough was enough and cancelled Serco?s Mt Eden contract.

In announcing the decision, departing Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-liga said the decision would have no bearing on Serco?s 25-year contract to run Wiri Prison in South Auckland.

He claimed there were no issues about Serco?s management of the facility and the Government was committed to a private prison service.

Lotu-liga?s claims appear to fly in the face of reports out of Wiri, which suggest the prison is facing many of the similar type of issues that plagued Mt Eden during much of the Serco reign.

One well-placed source claimed yesterday the private prison company was deliberately flouting health and safety regulations at Wiri with one of its trade training programmes ? and in the process putting inmates at risk of harm.

The source claimed Serco had failed to obtain council consent for a paint spray booth but instead of axing the scheme was allowing inmates to spray paint in the open with no ventilation or fume management. ? Read more »

Rack ’em and stack ’em

The Corrections Minister says he’s confident a new privately run south Auckland prison will be a success, despite concerns over the company running it.

The 960-bed men’s prison is due to open next week.

It’s costing the taxpayer the best part of $1 billion over 25-years, but the Corrections Minister isn’t paying much attention to the mistakes made by overseas company Serco, which will run and profit from it.

$40 millions a year for 25 years?

“I’m judging them on their performance in New Zealand,” says Sam Lotu-Iiga. “The evidence I’ve seen is that they’re performing exceptionally. We’ve got to judge them on their performance here.”

Serco’s track record is questionable. In the UK it was forced to pay back ? 60 million after charging the British government for services it didn’t deliver, and lost cleaning contracts in Australia for botching hospital sterilisation work.

And yet in New Zealand Serco’s done fine. ? Read more »

Don’t build that private prison….oh, wait a minute!

The left were dead against the new private?prison at Wiri.

But now they are facing the facts:

Manurewa politicians have dropped their campaign against the new Wiri prison and are now trying to get as many jobs out of it as possible for unemployed South Aucklanders.

The construction of the new $270 million jail is now well under way, with 300 to 350 people working daily on the site which is next to the existing women’s prison west of Roscommon Rd.? Read more »

Citizen A – Wikileaks, Don Brash, Rail

Citizen A – ?8pm Sunday Sky 89 & Freeview 21

Tune in to join Bomber and his revolving panel of bloggers and Auckland opinion shapers as they offer an up-to-date half hour review of the political media issues of the current week from a very Auckland perspective.

THIS WEEK: Selwyn Maning from Scoop.co.nz and Cameron Slater from gotcha.co.nz join the panel to discuss…

Issue one: Sarah Palin says Wikileaks should be pursued like Al Queda, does the public have a right to know what is being done in their name or is Julian Assange really Osama Bin Laden without the beard and what do the leaks really tell us about the world?

Issue two: John Key holds a digital interview on Stuff and releases policy for the 2011 election on bennie bashing and state asset sales – why does it seem that Facebook is suddenly the preferred vehicle for policy release now and why is Don Brash attacking John Key by claiming Maaaaaaaaori still get too much?

Issue three: Why does the Minister of Transport Stephen Joyce hate rail so badly, was he attacked by Thomas the Tank engine as a child. Paul Henry and Len Brown pushes to bypass opposition to building a private prison in Wiri? Why is Len channeling John Banks?