Govt failing on addiction services for offenders

The Prime Minister needs to explain why it is necessary to fund a Mongrel Mob-led meth programme $2.75 million when eight out of ten of the pilot participants were already under the active care of Corrections, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

“Under the previous National Government the funding of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes for people in the Corrections System was a priority.

“Back in 2009 I launched the Department of Corrections Drug and Alcohol Strategy 2009-2014 along with three additional Drug Treatment Units in New Zealand prisons.

“We identified that problematic drug and alcohol use is a health issue as well as a criminogenic factor and this informed our consistent increasing of funding in this area throughout our nine years in government.

“Under Jacinda Ardern’s Governments, National’s long-standing Methamphetamine Action Plan was cancelled and the number of participants in Corrections drug and alcohol programmes have dropped considerably. They have not replaced these with their own programmes.

“Meanwhile the Prime Minister has signed off $2.75 million for a Mongrel Mob-led Kahukura meth programme in which 80% of the pilot participants were already under the active care of the Corrections System in which they should have taxpayer funded treatment available to them.

“It seems that the Prime Minister is paying the Mongrel Mob to do a job that Corrections have been doing with proven success for over a decade. Offenders who are dealing with addiction should be able to receive help from Corrections whether they are in prison or not.

“Arguably, men who are actively under the care of Corrections and presumably have bail or parole conditions, are not ‘hard to reach’. Furthermore, surely the Prime Minister would consider it preferable to ensure these men receive proven treatment rather than sending them to live entrenched a gang for two months.

“The Prime Minister has talked a lot about ‘doing what works’. I suggest that New Zealanders would not consider giving vulnerable men addicted to methamphetamine to a live-in programme run by gang members something ‘that works’.”