Waatea News Column: Bewildering political blunder by Kelvin Davis & Labour over Prison riot

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Kelvin Davis has been the quiet achiever on prisons.

Following 9 years of National’s spite as social policy that saw prisoner voting rights stolen, prison population numbers explode and the deeply flawed private prison model established, Labour not only had to fight a Corrections system that was broken and counterproductive, it had to fight an electorate who had been fuelled by the mainstream media to hate prisoners and want them to actually suffer rather than merely punished by loss of liberty.

Kelvin managed to lower the prison muster by forcing Corrections staff to help illiterate prisoners fill in the forms that would allow them to serve their sentence at home rather than in prison, but that clever use of existing loopholes without a major culture change and resources to modernise the ancient prison network wasn’t enough to cope with the extra problems caused by Covid.

It is clear to anyone with two eyes that Corrections have lied to the Minister about the state of conditions inside the prisons.

The prisoner’s allegations of how bad the conditions have become under the stresses of an understaffed Covid Corrections are barbaric…

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Our drinking water in prison is brown. We have used our towels for three straight weeks now. Some of us have not had our bedding changed in five months. We have not received clean uniforms to wear for three months – we wear the same dirty clothes day in and day out. We have to wash our clothes in our dirty shower water and dry them on the concrete floor. We have no toilet seats: we eat our kai out of paper bags right next to our open, shared toilets.

….clearly, the Minister has been kept in the dark over how bad things have become but despite Corrections lies and falsehoods, the bewildering decision to not front by the Minister to negotiate a de-escalation, as he attempted in 2015 over the Christmas Island riots, has allowed the Māori Party to take early news oxygen and it has given National of all people a chance to pretend they care.

The astounding hypocrisy of National to pretend they care when it was their rhetoric that created the overflowing prisons in the first place surely is the greatest political scam of 2021!

Kelvin’s lack of leadership and the stepping up by the Māori Party is a seriously damaging political blow in the first days of 2021.

It is bewildering that Labour are allowing Corrections to get away with this abuse.

 

First published on Waatea News.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Prisoners saying one thing and what the truth is are different things and will be investigated….im guessing an official enquiry, that will put off any awkward questions needing answers for Labour, for about 6-9mths, SORTED!

    • The validity of any report depends on who does the enquiry. As for the assumption that prisoners lie, it is enlightening that the recent report of the Ombudsman highlighted similar concerns to those raised by the prisoners. At least the Human Rights Commissioner isn’t asleep on the job! He said there was no shortage of reports and recommendations pointing out failings in prisons, however, progress was glacial. He believes the Ombudsman should conduct the enquiry to ensure the sort of independence that will not eventuate with two separate internal reviews that are being conducted by Corrections.

  2. It’s not about centrists you nothing. Infact you’ve got less than nothing. It’s just the same old fear and confusion the commercial media pass as informed opinion.

    Regular care and maintenance of human rights have seen a low interest rate environment. Hards times always bring out the genius level economists trying to jump into the disadvantaged and take the last of there rights and you sit there with the Gaul to call it truth and investigated you centrist.

  3. No in house compartmental sell imprisonment control to the least capitalist afford, inquest will insure, greed! profits exploitation of imprison sell your contract of care.

  4. Sell our jail control, to capitalist control greed exploit, he who us, what care about prisoners, he you you ,your breath social care.

  5. Heh we sold the jails to these corporate profit uncaring seeing abuse they have done not only here, but every where else these corporate monsters profit control our government allows to control, without a police care liscence, just this building is under our control.

  6. How that, truth understand. Sold off our social care of our court rule justice, to this corporations profit exploit, of our our, justice care.

  7. jail,who why,shall we be caring understanding,jail who,corporations exploit of our humanity, or those corporations saY.
    .

  8. hE BOSS,CAN I HAVE A JOB, YES ,DONT TELL THEM YOU WORK WITH SKILLED AND SAME SAY TELL THEM MY WAGE PAYING YOU,BOSS KNOW NEVER WORK LIKE YOUR UNION NEVER EPLOITE OF YOUR PROFIT EXPLOIT UNION YOU GET THE FUCK AWAY YOU NEVERR WORK FOR US

  9. Im a Scot, long time here afore your birth and no meaning harm,been drinkin this whisky 20 years single malt, and am no a whisky drinker,politics care my knowin socialist, no need to catch it, history of your place, truth,Lange ,SAID,Muldoon should be arrested for treason, I SAID THAT.

  10. History you scot vocal,never found a better one, how old you, my age among our Ministers of power you should understand my knowing.

  11. Laugh no never social care breath knowing understanding.Got control now, that fella, to the right side of your seat, is proper partisan, next time the ballot box, yous will have only yous to say, question the result, who I, OLD SCHOOL socialist.

  12. Ave been drinkin this well aged expensive singal malt whisky, expense well singal malt is,why, im not a hard liquer drinker,but understand,social care,De,Cleene, Cagil Marshall, Prebble, all saying we have won the election, Muldoon saying,i have fixed the books, you cant do untill i say, truth history, then truth Lange, saying, some people wanted Muldoon arrested for treason. Mind you, then if i new what they where going to do also them.

  13. I’m no longer bewildered by Labour politicians’ lack of guts over events like this. I feel so incredibly let down, by this bunch of spoilt brats, playing power games, and modelling sham compassion.

    • Red Flag,

      If you feel bewildered by Labour Party politicians over the prison riot, you must have been in full-blown meltdown with the previous pack of National Party arseholes who couldn’t possibly have cared less about Kiwis….unless of course, they were “hard-working” businesses that were creaming it and would invariably only ever vote National.

      I feel sorry for Kelvin Davis. He’s been set up and thrown into a pot of festering turds. I’ve never been to Waikeria prison but accept it’s a shithole. I’ve visited people at Mt Eden prison, Mount Crawford prison in Wellington, and Paparua prison in Christchurch. All are shitholes. Many in the public would applaud that. If you break into my home and steal my possessions, profit from the misery in the community via class A drug sales or beat up and rob my elderly mother or rape my wife, etc I want you to suffer. I couldn’t possibly care less about your rehabilitation, your comfort levels, how many pieces of toast you get in the morning if you’re drinking filtered water and the likelihood of you reoffending on release. I want you to be punished for your offending. That’s the consequences of your actions. Your victims have suffered and almost certainly will still be suffering.

      Rehabilitation comes from within. You’re stuck in a shithole where you don’t want to be. You’d be missing your liberty, your partner and your whanau. You miss going for a beer or a bbq. You dislike being told when you go to bed and when you get up. You miss going to the supermarket and buying the things you enjoy. You’ll miss the things most of us take for granted. At some point, if you’ve got at least half a brain you’ll say fuck this. I’m not coming back here. My life of crime has backfired. Then start making positive plans and making good choices. If you’re genuine, there are programs in every NZ Prison to help you. You can’t force rehabilitation on anyone. Many prisoners will view doing time as a calculated risk of the lifestyle they’ve chosen and are not remotely interested in rehabilitation. They’ve spent years kicking society in the teeth. Prison is society kicking them back.

      I don’t believe for a second the prison riots are all about conditions in the prison. That will be part of it but not the primary motivation as it’s been portrayed. The people involved will be used to having their own way on the outer and will be despising the new dynamic they are confronted with. The riot was in my opinion about changing the power dynamic in whatever way they felt was reasonable. They will use any method to win that power play. I feel there is no coincidence in the timing between Christmas and New Year. It’s the hottest time of the year where most people on the outside are out enjoying life with friends and family while they are stuck in a shithole. Would be the worst time to be locked up.

      The choice’s the prisoners very deliberately made were calculated and totally bereft of respect for the property paid for by the taxpayers of NZ.

      They attempted to control the media narrative and public opinion via their family members on the outside who were a vital part of their plan. They weren’t “rioters”, they were “protestors”. Yea right to that bullshit. They didn’t arm themselves to attack the guards, they were armed to protect themselves. Yep, the other one plays jingle bells. It was just another power play to gain control.

      Does anyone remember the horrendous 1988 Ambury Park, Mangere abduction and rape. The offenders were Mongrel Mob. Many wore the offending involved as a badge of honour in the gang. They were a “DOG’ and being an anti-society DOG earns you respect within the gang. “If the “baldheads” of society are sickened by you then that’s also a bonus. I met Notorious president Roy Dunn numerous times years later along with some of the other offenders involved. Roy was trying to take his boys down a different track in life and that’s where and why our paths crossed at Hui etc. Roy is no longer with us but confirmed unequivocally about the badge of honour I refer to. He would know especially in regard that horrendous crime.

      Those involved in the Waikeria prison riot will wear their badge of honour and mana in certain circles with great pride. We stood up and are not to be fucked with. The milage they sought and gained right across the board will be still gaining traction for decades. You can take that to the bank.

      National Party politicians trying to get relevance and traction out of what unfolded was farcical, desperate and contemptible. Martyn is 100% correct to highlight their hypocrisy and faux concern. Them calling out Kelvin Davis should be treated with the contempt it deserved. Same applies with the supporters of the rioters on the outside who bagged Davis for his non-appearance. What exactly did they want of him? Bring pizza and cold beers for the rioters? Many in the community felt he should go in with all guns blazing. Both options were wrong. Destroying millions of dollars worth of property should never be the way to get a one on one with a Minister. Davis did exactly the right thing to wait and let the process unfold one way or another.

      • Quite right, Jacindafan, and pretty good analysis. The whole thing was a blatant well -timed bully-boy set up, and Kelvin Davis responded in a manner befitting a Minister of the Crown, while assorted others took umbrage at the fact that he didn’t behave like a headless chook in the way that they did. I was personally pleased that Davis didn’t waste his valuable time visiting the hot spot – nice to see a dignified response, and a measured one.

        Want to hear about the time a white cop behaved obnoxiously outside Woolworths in Dunedin 40 years ago ? Or the time 30 years ago when a male police officer admonished me in front of two small boys concerning a little matter of stop signs ? Oh boy.

  14. Minister Davis not attending the revolting prisoners was actually an appropriate call, and following correct process.

    If Davis has been lied to by Corrections, it is not Davis’s blunder.

    Another Maori politician coming and assisting in reaching resolution doesn’t make this an either/ or situation, they did different, and it panned out ok, but had the Minister turned up while his officials were handling a crisis, it would also have been a distraction which nobody needed – this was not a leading-troops-into-battle situation.

    The arsonists on the roof were calling the shots, and some may see Kelvin Davis has having more stature by not coming running at their behest.

  15. My musings:

    1). Prison ain’t supposed to be a holiday camp. The vast majority of individuals in prison did something really fucking bad to be in there. There aren’t many if any, Andy Defrusne’s in there.
    2). That said, drinkable water and appropriate bed linen/towels etc are a fundamental duty of care right. That there are issues with that should have been up in lights well before the riot.
    3). So we can spend money on sensory gardens but not proper water filtration systems. RIGHTO.
    3). IT IS THE ROLE OF THE FUCKING MINISTER to understand where the system is at. Trust but verify your ministry. Kelvin hasn’t done that and to blame the National Party 3.5 years after they left the building is tribal and not accepting the government’s short comings.
    4). Time to start throwing brickbats at the left’s darlings in the MSM. Rather than focusing on Neve’s Christmas fucking gift or the Blairite’s holiday in Tairua how about an investigation into the corrections department and the state of our prisons? Too much to ask?

    If this government continues to do nothing then these issues will continue to pop up on a regular basis. It is pure tribal hypocrisy to dribble on about 9 years of neglect when your response is more of the same.

    • my musings on your musings

      1). Prison ain’t supposed to be a holiday camp. The vast majority of individuals in prison did something really fucking bad to be in there. There aren’t many if any, Andy Defrusne’s in there.

      This is one of the great lies of the prison industrial complex, most people in prison ARE NOT there for serious crime, many are in there for fines they can’t pay and most are on remand.

      2). That said, drinkable water and appropriate bed linen/towels etc are a fundamental duty of care right. That there are issues with that should have been up in lights well before the riot.

      Agreed

      3). So we can spend money on sensory gardens but not proper water filtration systems. RIGHTO.

      Let’s have both

      3). IT IS THE ROLE OF THE FUCKING MINISTER to understand where the system is at. Trust but verify your ministry. Kelvin hasn’t done that and to blame the National Party 3.5 years after they left the building is tribal and not accepting the government’s short comings.

      Agreed

      4). Time to start throwing brickbats at the left’s darlings in the MSM. Rather than focusing on Neve’s Christmas fucking gift or the Blairite’s holiday in Tairua how about an investigation into the corrections department and the state of our prisons? Too much to ask?

      Agreed

      If this government continues to do nothing then these issues will continue to pop up on a regular basis. It is pure tribal hypocrisy to dribble on about 9 years of neglect when your response is more of the same.

      I agree, the damage the disgusting right wing always cause vast chunks of the social system have to be immediately repaired otherwise they explode and the filthy fucking right wing then have the audacity to blame the left.

      Fuck that shit right Franky?

      • Bomber,

        “This is one of the great lies of the prison industrial complex, most people in prison ARE NOT there for a serious crime, many are in there for fines they can’t pay and most are on remand”

        That’s a powerful statement, Martyn…. I have serious doubts about the fines aspect. Don’t know enough about remand numbers to comment. I’d be interested to see your evidence re the fines aspect.

        Our courts have been falling over themselves to gift out soft cock Home D as a “harsh penalty” for many years for all types of very serious offending. I know of numerous repeat violent offenders copping that penalty. Last year we saw an elderly pedo who had spent decades offending against young vulnerable children finally get caught up with by the farcical long arm of the law but not before destroying countless lives. That human excrement was sentenced to Home D. The irony of that penalty was that it was during the lockdown when all 70+ aged people were required to self isolate at home. In other words, all 70+ aged kiwis were treated similarly to a convicted life long pedo. What a farce. That was on the back of another alleged judge describing thousands of outrageous child pornography images on multiple devices of a pedo as being his equivalent of “collecting stamps”

        What is Home D ? Stay at home and watch Sky TV. If the offender has a job he can continue doing it. He can maintain relationships with family. Compared to losing your liberty in Prison, Home D is just a relatively minor temporary inconvenience.

        Our court system allows people with fines to set up payment arrangements for as little as $10 a week. If there are people in prison for unpaid fines they must owe huge amounts and are refusing to repay them or have routinely broken payment arrangements. Even with that scenario, it’s difficult to imagine the courts giving more than a 14-day or 28-day sentence for unpaid fines. Anything outside of that would be as rare as rocking horse poo.

        The overwhelming majority of people in NZ prisons have fucked up badly.

      • I look at it like this. Most ministries have 2 sides:

        A) a political side; and
        B) an operational side

        The ministry should be (rightly) framed within the political views of the government of the day. The operational side however should not be framed in politics and should come down competency in regards to the day-to-day provision of services. If you can’t operate the ministry competently you forfeit the ability to justify political objectives. It is the role of MINISTERS to VERIFY and ENSURE the operations of their ministries fall with expected means. I didn’t know isn’t an acceptable answer for someone earning over $250k p.a. If you didn’t know you aren’t in control of your own ministry. There are obvious caveats to this however the onus should be on the minister not the ministry. That’s how seniority and responsibility works.

        If there is brown water and a lacking of a working laundry then the onus is on the minister to know this, demand rectification and otherwise actively monitor progress.

        Little Aotearoa as a society loves to appoint blame but struggles to fix a broken system. Fine if this is due to 9 years of neglect – prove you are better and fix the fucker. Be the better political party/government.

        Perhaps ask Beetroot for a loan. He owns a few Zimbabwe money printing machines. Surely he’s getting bored of impregnating the retail banks and property market.

      • For the record I believe you are being too harsh on the right. Ministry incompetence has far more impact than laissez faire politicians on both sides of the house.

        Brown water – fuck time you looked into your filtration systems? Maybe?

  16. Right, so we should ignore the nine years before the Ardern administration and the fact that the National Party-led regime of the Teens left Waikeria open despite repeated government reports stating that it was unfit for purpose? Sorry, but if you persist in ignoring people about inhumane living conditions, the pressure tends to build up. Although Kelvin isn’t helping. I’m with PAPA on this one.

  17. Kelvin Davis was able to inspect prisons and interview prisoners at any time – the lack of such inspections speaks volumes about his competence.

    That facility was 100 years old had a considerable amount of double bunking indicating overcrowding and unsatisfactory conditions.

    So maybe National was correct in wanting a new prison built?

    • “Kelvin Davis was able to inspect prisons and interview prisoners at any time – the lack of such inspections speaks volumes about his competence.”
      Andrew

      This crisis has proven the Minister as lazy and wanting.

      Before he was elected as the member for Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis prominently campaigned against the injustice of long term New Zealand citizens, resident in Australia, who commit crime, or consort with criminals or gangs being deported to New Zealand. Where they have no family, or support networks, or for some, not even any memory of New Zealand.
      Kelvin Davis prominent advocacy for deportees rights, before he was elected, helped gain Kelvin Davis the Corrections portfolio.
      On being elected and appointed Minister of Corrections, in the face of Australian intransigence, Kelvin Davis quietly dropped his advocacy for deportees as too much effort.

      In his latest statement about the Waikeria rooftop protest, Kelvin Davis attacked the protesters as being deportee trouble makers and gang members of Australian gangs, the Comancheros and Mongols.
      By scape goating deportees as being behind the troubles at Waikeria, Kelvin Davis is a hypocrite.
      For not following up on his previous advocacy on behalf of deportees, Kelvin Davis is the single individual member of the government most responsible for the presence of these prisoners and Aussie gang members in our Corrections system.
      For taking the line of least resistance for lazy acceptance of the Australians and now to Corrections positions – The Prime Minister needs to remove Kelvin Davis from his post for his lack of performance.
      The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern can Phil Twyford from his post of Housing Minister for lack of performance in his portfolio.
      Kelvin Davis mst be removed as the head of corrections portfolio for the same reason.

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