A new Prisoner Welfare Governance Board will help Corrections ensure prisoner safety and wellbeing and provide reassurance to the public that prisons are as safe as possible, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.
The board, which includes three external members, was established and is chaired by the Corrections chief executive to drive and support the department in its ongoing work to improve the safety and welfare of people in prisons across New Zealand.
“Corrections has a duty of care to the prisoners in its custody and I am pleased it has taken this step to look at ways it can improve prisoner welfare and respond appropriately where there are concerns,” Ms Upston says.
To ensure a range of views are heard, three external members with wide expertise and experience have been appointed. They are Te Puni Kōkiri chief executive Michelle Hippolite, former Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem and former Secretary for Justice Mel Smith.
“The establishment of this board should reassure prisoners and the public that concerns about welfare and safety are of the utmost importance to Corrections and that it is always looking for ways to improve its operations. I look forward to hearing more about its progress,” Ms Upston says.
During its first meeting, on 30 June, the board determined initial priorities and discussed enhancing provision of mental health services, services for people at risk of self-harm and suicide, and the safety and welfare of vulnerable people such as older people or those with disabilities.
In September it will discuss a review of suicides and suspected suicides in prisons, services for people with mental health needs and the department’s management of transgender prisoners.
Rimutaka Prison’s Gate to Plate event has been a tremendous success with more than 240 people visiting the prison for dinner, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
“In its fifth year, the event has been a sell-out, and I’m delighted with the public’s support,” said Ms Upston.
“Today, tomorrow and Thursday this week at Midland Park in Wellington’s CBD, the same group of prisoners who successfully cooked up a storm for the popular event last week will have their culinary masterpieces on display by Corrections at a bonus Gate to Plate pop-up event as part of the Visa Wellington on a Plate festival.
“I was lucky enough to sample the meal ahead of the event and it surpassed my expectations with a range of different foods and types of preparation, cooking and presentation. I’m looking forward to visiting the pop-up on Wednesday.
“The Gate to Plate events coinciding with Got a Trade week is significant, showcasing that our prisoners are gaining valuable skills to bolster their employability and their successful reintegration into society. This year Corrections have delivered 11 million hours of industry training, education and treatment to prisoners.
“Through their hard work, the prisoners will gain qualifications that will help them get work on the outside upon release. This in turn will help them to live a crime-free life.”
The prisoners created canapés, entrées, mains and desserts and were mentored by celebrity chef Martin Bosley, executive chefs James Pask from Whitebait and Kristan Mulcahy from The Green Man, and Rimutaka’s catering instructors.
Trades training and apprenticeships are in the spotlight this week as Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Louise Upston launches Got a Trade? Got it Made! Week in Wellington today. Got a Trade? Got it Made! Week aims to raise awareness of the training and career opportunities New Zealand’s trades and services industry can offer. “With national construction experiencing exponential growth, and primary industries, tourism and services sector booming, it’s now more important than ever to get more young people into trades,” Ms Upston said. “Matching up the skills pipeline is an absolute priority for me as Minister. We’ve got thousands of jobs becoming available every month, and I’ve been working with educators, employers and young people for a while now to make sure they are all talking to each other, ensuring our young people have access to this information and are setting themselves on the right life-long pathways for a successful future. “Got a Trade? Got it Made! has done some great work over the past few years, promoting trades and services as a first career choice with young people, whānau and career influencers like teachers. Now is the time to build on this. “These jobs are some of the highest-paying opportunities available and we should absolutely be communicating this to both parents and young people. They can take a tertiary route and take on a student loan, or, they could purse an apprenticeship and be on a good salary in a few years with no student loan.” According to MBIE’s Future Demand for Construction Workers, around 49,000 more people will be needed in construction-related occupations in the next five years, taking the total to over 539,000. By 2025, an additional 15,100 workers with formal post-school qualifications will be needed in primary industries - a 30 per cent increase on the current workforce. Service industries make up a large proportion of our economy and it is forecast the sector will create 54,000 new jobs over the next five years. “Earlier this year we announced a further $7 million over four years to support industry training on top of the additional Budget 2016 funding of $14.4 million. “Apprenticeships are not just an alternative career choice for young people, they are critical for our economy and offer fantastic earning potential. “We need to work together to help young people understand that apprenticeships and on the job training are a great way to gain the skills needed for lifelong success,” Ms Upston says. For more information on the campaign visit: http://gotatrade.co.nz/
Eleven million hours of rehabilitation, education, employment and constructive activities have been completed by prisoners in the last financial year, as part of the Working Prisons initiative, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
Working Prisons involve prisoners in a structured 40 hour week in preparation for their release and reintegration into the community.
“Working prisons have become a key part of our efforts to turn people away from a life of crime,” says Ms Upston.
“Prisoners’ daily activities are targeted towards their individual needs. They could be studying towards qualifications, learning a trade, attending rehabilitation programmes or learning life skills like budgeting or parenting.”
Just over six million of the total hours completed have been prisoners gaining industry experience or qualifications which will help them find employment on release.
More than 35 industries operate in prisons, delivering training and employment opportunities including hospitality, laundry, grounds maintenance and asset management, farming, distribution, manufacturing, carpentry, and engineering.
“We know that having a job can help to stop someone from committing crime. It enables them to provide for their family, connect with positive support networks and develop a sense of self worth,” says Ms Upston.
Two million of the hours completed by prisoners were for rehabilitation programmes and interventions. These include intensive programmes to address violence, drug and alcohol addiction and child sex offending, and brief interventions to engage prisoners and encourage them to go on to complete further programmes.
“This year a focus of Corrections’ treatment programmes is the support provided to prisoners with mental health issues, and alcohol and drug issues,” says Ms Upston.
More than one million of the hours completed were toward education and learning activities, including literacy and numeracy courses, driver licencing training, work-related qualifications and certificates and reintegration programmes.
Another million hours was comprised of constructive activities, including arts programmes and parenting.
“The Working Prisons framework gives prisoners the opportunity to address the causes of their offending, earn recognised industry-qualifications, learn valuable skills and take part in training that can assist them in finding a job once they are released,” says Ms Upston.
“Providing this support will help prisoners take greater control of their lives, make a positive contribution to their community and ultimately reduce their likelihood of committing crime.”
Over the last financial year, the Department of Corrections made 2226 employment placements in prisons and the community.
A new set of online resources will provide teachers with the information they need to help their students learn about New Zealand’s animal welfare, biosecurity and food systems, says Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston.
“The curriculum-linked resources are being rolled out so that teachers can help students to learn key knowledge and skills while also discovering how these key systems underpin the primary industries and play an important role in our economy, our environment and our way of life,” Ms Upston says.
“The primary industries are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy – accounting for more than 70 per cent of exports. To maintain our competitive edge, we need to ensure young people are aware of different aspects of the primary industries and can explore some of the exciting opportunities available in the sector.”
The resources use local community, regional, national and international contexts to help students learn about the importance of animal welfare, biosecurity and food production systems to themselves, communities, and New Zealand as a key primary industry player on the international stage.
They include activities that encourage students to engage in local action to improve practices and other activities that help students explore the importance of animal welfare and sustainable resource use on the future of our international markets.
The teacher resources have been developed to support learning in Health and Physical Education, Science, Social Studies and Technology for Levels 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 4 and 5 of The New Zealand Curriculum. They are supported by a series of professional development videos and a LEARNZ virtual field trip, titled 'Our primary industries – sustainable futures through animal welfare, biosecurity, and food systems'.
The resources are available on the MPI website at https://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/teacher-resources/te-ao-turoa/.
Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston is encouraging graduate vets working in rural areas to apply for funding through the Vet Bonding Scheme.
Since the Scheme was launched in 2009, 227 graduates vets have helped address the ongoing shortages of vets working with production animals in rural areas of New Zealand.
“The 2014 People Powered report told us that by 2025, we need 33,300 more workers with qualifications providing support services, such as veterinary services, to the primary industries,” says Ms Upston.
“By incentivising graduate vets to work in practices that focus on treating production and working animals, we are supporting the increasing demand for skilled workers in the primary industries.”
“Improvements were made earlier this year to ensure the Scheme continues to meet industry needs. These changes included holding the funding round later, allowing grad vets time to secure employment (an application requirement), and including working dogs as an eligible work focus.”
Vets taking part in the scheme are eligible for $55,000 ($11,000 each year) over five years. MPI pays the first instalment in the third year of the scheme, with the second and third instalments made after the fourth and fifth years respectively.
“If you’re in your first year as a practicing veterinarian and have a job in an eligible practice, you may qualify for funding.”
The 2017 funding round will open on 14 August and close at 3pm on 28 August 2017.
For eligibility criteria and to apply, visit http://www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/farming/vet-bonding-scheme/
The Māia video series released today brings the employability skills framework to life for rangatahi Māori, says Associate Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Louise Upston.
“By 2030, approximately 30% of our students – and therefore our future workforce – will be Māori and will make up a significant proportion of the country’s working-age population by 2040.
The Māia video series, produced by the Tertiary Education Commission provide real examples and a positive connection between employers, employees, and young Māori.
“By combining the employability skills framework with successful Māori business stories and values, we have a visual and authentic learning resource.
“Employers have told us that employability skills like resilience, self-management and a positive attitude are critical for any prospective job seeker in the modern workplace,” says Ms Upston.
The seven employability skills announced in May are the key behaviours, attitudes and personal qualities employers say are critical for gaining employment and performing well in a job.
The series is suitable for all young people whether they are looking to secure their first job, to gain interview skills, start learning on-the-job or to learn the skills and knowledge they need to be an entrepreneur.
And with 22,000 Māori presently owning their own business, there are many opportunities on offer in industries like information technology which is growing exponentially.
The government’s Ka Hao (the Māori Digital Technology Development Fund) launched in 2016 supports initiatives that create high value jobs and opportunities for Māori in digital technologies.
With the government’s work focusing on apprenticeships and on-the-job learning options to fill the skills shortage, there’s a ton of opportunities for young people including some high-paying careers in trades on offer.
The Māīa video series is available on the Careers New Zealand Facebook page or at www.careers.govt.nz/maia.
More information on the employability skills is available at www.careers.govt.nz/plan-your-career/not-sure-what-to-do/skills-employers-are-looking-for.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston has welcomed 45 new Corrections officers to the front line.
The latest cohort, which graduated at a ceremony in Wellington today, includes officers from the United Kingdom, Samoa, South Africa and India. They come from a range of professions including former police officers, nurses and mental health workers.
“Corrections staff play an extremely important role. Not only do they keep our communities safe, they ensure the safety of prisoners and often act as mentors and confidantes to the people in their care. Some people in our prisons have never had positive role models and Corrections officers are in a unique position to be do that,” Ms Upston says.
“That is why Corrections seeks people with varied life and work skills from a diverse range of backgrounds. Being that person who can help turn someone away from a life of crime is special and I applaud these new Corrections officers for taking that step.”
Charmaine Shaw of Christchurch Women’s Prison was presented with the Minister’s Excellence Award which acknowledges the leadership, enthusiasm and drive she displayed during training.
Ms Shaw speaks Te Reo Maori and has worked in education, with youth and people with mental health issues. She is involved in sports, including managing the South Island Scorpions rugby league team.
“Charmaine is described a natural leader and is known for her ability to uplift and encourage others. These are fantastic attributes in a Corrections officer,” Ms Upston says.
The new graduates will work at prisons across the country.
Associate Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Louise Upston has welcomed the launch of 10 regional skills roadmaps to help the service industry tailor training according to the needs of the regional workforce.
The regional roadmaps were developed jointly by the service sector industry training organisation ServiceIQ and the service industries including tourism, hospitality, retail and aviation.
The 10 roadmaps formally launched at an event at Parliament today cover Christchurch, Auckland Tourism, Queenstown Lakes, Northland, Taupō Lakes, Otago-Southland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Manawatū-Whanganui and Wellington.
Ms Upston says the aim of the roadmaps, developed to deliver specific training according to regional needs, is to better meet forecast regional workforce growth over the next five years.
“Service industries make up a large proportion of our economy and it is forecast that the sector will create 54,000 new jobs over the next five years. I congratulate ServiceIQ for partnering with industry employers to proactively plan and identify the skills needed across the sector in the regions,” Ms Upston says.
“One of this Government’s priorities is to improve the relevance and quality of tertiary education to meet current and future labour market needs. It makes sense that the mix of skills needed to fill future new jobs will differ depending on the employer profile for each region. For example, regions such as Auckland and Queenstown Lakes will see growth in tourism related services.
“Focusing on the regions will help to ensure training for local service workers remains relevant. Local workers will benefit from having the right skills, in the right place, at the right time for work that benefits their community,” Ms Upston says.
A further four skills roadmaps will be available by the end of the year. These include Auckland Retail, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Nelson-Marlborough-Tasman-West Coast. Waikato will complete the picture in 2018.
More information on the roadmaps can be found at http://www.serviceiq.org.nz/wfd/
A new nationwide set of environmental rules for managing New Zealand’s 1.7 million hectares of plantation forestry will better protect the environment and deliver significant savings in compliance costs, Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith and Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston say.
“Forestry is New Zealand’s third largest primary industry but its efficiency is hampered by the confusing mix of planning rules across New Zealand’s 86 councils. The strength of this national approach is that it will better protect the environment while also improving the productivity of the forestry sector by applying consistent environmental standards to reduce operational costs,” Dr Smith says.
“A major change with these new regulations is the development of three new tools for managing the environmental impacts from forestry, covering the issues of erosion, wilding pines and fish spawning.
“The benefit of these tools is that the restrictions on forestry activities are related to the environmental risk rather than which council area a forestry operation is in. This change is particularly important as 80 per cent of forest owners manage forests in multiple council areas.
“This new national forestry standard is part of the Government’s broader Resource Management Act reforms, facilitated by amendments passed in May this year. It follows other national regulations covering telecommunications, electricity transmission, waste tyre management, water metering and drinking water, contaminated soils and aquaculture.”
Ms Upston says the forestry industry will benefit from having a set of consistent regulations to operate under.
“Planning rules at local government level are subject to regular reviews and there could be as many as three sets of regional or district plan rules. Some large forests also cross local government boundaries, resulting in different rules for the same forest.”
“Removing this uncertainty will encourage greater investment in a significant contributor to our economy, especially at regional level. Forestry employs more than 26,000 people and exports total more than $5 billion a year,” Ms Upston says.
“The National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry covers eight core plantation forestry activities: afforestation, pruning and thinning to waste, earthworks, river crossings, forestry quarrying, harvesting, mechanical land preparation and replanting. Councils may apply stricter rules in special circumstances where local conditions require a more restrictive approach.”
The standard, which comes into force on 1 May, 2018, was developed jointly by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment. Support and guidance will be provided to councils, foresters and key stakeholders to ensure an effective rollout.