East Rejects Goff's Claims

  • Paul East

Minister of Corrections, Paul East, has struck back at the Labour Opposition's suggestions that the successful negotiated outcome at Christchurch Prison was too generous and established a dangerous precedent.

"I'd like Mr Goff to front up to the families of the prison officers involved and tell them that the peaceful settlement was too much," said Mr East. "It's easy for him to judge the outcome from the comfort of his rural Auckland lifestyle block. I was at the prison throughout this situation, and I know that all involved were acutely concerned for the well being of the victims at the centre of this event."

"I am astounded by Mr Goff's arm-chair bravado. We're talking about decent, hardworking people with families. The negotiated settlement resulted in six unharmed prison officers being reunited with their families and the re-establishment of order in the prison."

Mr East said the outcome hinged on the ringleaders' wider concerns being taken seriously and that was the only concession the negotiators were prepared to make.

"I believe most New Zealanders would prefer to avoid the escalation of a difficult and potentially violent situation.

"Mr Goff is overlooking the fact that the prisoners involved still have to face the legal consequences for their actions. The issue of a precedent could be of concern if any offer of immunity from prosecution had been conceded. In this case, all that has been granted to the prisoners involved is the opportunity to meet with a lawyer and a former detective," said Mr East.