Corrections Bill Makes Progress

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 — 8:33 PM

The Corrections Amendment Bill received its second reading in Parliament on Tuesday evening with Government saying it would be used to ensure the prison smoking ban was legal.

After Question Time, MPs returned to the debate on the Prime Minister’s statement, but adjourned this around 5.30 with one hour and ten minutes remaining.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said the bill would make it easier for the Correction Department to manage prisoners and to delegate powers to contractors.

Tolley said the provisions for strip searches had been amended in select committee due to concerns about possible abuse by prison officers.

Strip searches would now be required to be signed off by a prison manager.

Tolley said the bill would also allow the department to keep recordings of phone calls to prisoners for up to two years.

The Government would also be moving an SOP in the committee stage ensuring the legality of the Government’s smoking ban in prisons.

Labour MP Charles Chauvel said it was recognised that the bill made some improvements, but Labour was and remained opposed to the power to delegate responsibilities and duties to contractors.

Labour was opposed to the privatisation of prisons, as the removal of freedom should be a power enforced by the state, he said.

There were also concerns about the provisions for strip searches and the new move to ensure the prison smoking ban was legal.

The bill completed its second reading by 68 to 52 with National, NZ First, ACT and United Future in favour.

MPs began the second reading debate of the Privacy (Information Sharing) Bill

It received its second reading by 105 to 15 with the Greens and Mana opposed.

The House rose at 10 pm interrupting the second reading of the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Amendment Bill

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