News release

01 February 2007
National to look at Corrections' future

The National Party is to investigate disestablishing the Department of Corrections and re-incorporating it into the Ministry of Justice, National Party Leader John Key announced today.

"National has lost confidence in Corrections to meet its core responsibilities effectively, in light of the Burton and Ashley tragedies, the $490 million prisons construction budget blowout, rehabilitation failures, serious staff morale issues, the huge contraband problem, and the 101 other disasters of recent years.

"So today I am announcing that National's caucus has charged Corrections and Justice spokesman Simon Power with looking at folding this very dysfunctional department back into the Ministry of Justice.

"National takes law and order very, very seriously. The question we're asking is whether this portfolio will be better represented by a senior minister with oversight and accountability for Corrections and Justice?

"When polls show that only one third of New Zealanders have trust and confidence in this department, it is clear something drastic has to be done.

"It has lurched from crisis to crisis, to a point where we even have the Minister and the Chief Executive disagreeing over its effectiveness.

"Corrections operates in a culture of denial and finger-pointing at others when things go wrong.

"Every time there is an incident like the Burton fiasco, New Zealanders look to the Government for answers, but all they get is a chain of buck-passing and fob-offs.

"They are more interested in ticking the right boxes than ensuring the public is adequately protected."

News release

01 February 2007
National confirms position on Maori seats

The National Party Caucus today moved to confirm its position on the future of the Maori seats, which involves tying their abolition to the settlement of historic Treaty claims.

"The Caucus today confirmed that the Maori seats will be abolished, which we anticipate will take place around the time of settlement of historic Treaty claims," says National Party Leader John Key.

"Around the time of the last settlement - which we anticipate will be in 2014 - National will begin a constitutional process to abolish the seats. The reason for such a process is that this is a major change of interest to all New Zealanders.

"National will also ensure more resources are available to help speed up the claims settlement process.

"I want to see an inclusive, tolerant society, where every New Zealander is equal before the law.

"National thinks there's no place for ethnically-based electoral systems in 21st Century New Zealand," says Mr Key.