Gangs involved in Waikeria riot but not in investigation

The terms of reference for the inquiry into the riot at Waikeria Prison won’t get to the bottom of why it burned down, National’s Corrections spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“During Select Committee today Corrections confirmed every single one of the rioters was a gang member.

“Given this information, it’s incredibly strange the terms of reference for the inquiry don’t include what role organised crime and gangs played in the riot.

“This glaring omission is concerning and begs the question whether Corrections is trying to sweep the whole event under the rug quietly.

“This was a violent riot that destroyed millions of dollars of prison infrastructure and put the lives of Corrections staff and prisoners at risk.

“The narrow terms of reference suggests Corrections isn’t interested in learning anything new and making sure this doesn’t happen again. An independent inquiry is needed with wider terms of reference.

“The Corrections Minister needs to be prepared to uncover some hard truths, including whether cancelling the new Waikeria Prison had an impact on prisoner and staff morale.

“If we don’t dig deep enough and find out exactly how and why this riot was able to occur, then we won’t be able to learn from the lessons and make sure this never happens again.”