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LETTER: Prison abuse allegations dismissed

Thursday 13 October 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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LETTER: Prison abuse allegations dismissed

Dear Editor, I wish to respond to recent allegations levelled against the corrections department by a current inmate who is on medical referral in New Zealand.

The department wholly denies the allegation that Mr Ataera has been mistreated or threatened by the authorities.

He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in July 2021.

He came in with a long and complicated medical condition for which he was receiving drugs and treatment approved by TMO (Te Marae Ora).

On medical advice from TMO, he was released in January this year for medical referral in New Zealand. This was and continues to be fully funded by the government.

The Arorangi prison facility is more than 50 years old and in some respects, is no longer fit for purpose.

It undoubtedly needs to be modernised or replaced to meet current and future needs.

Plans are in the pipeline to establish or refurbish the present facility which is outdated. Overcrowding has been an issue from time to time, especially when inmate numbers increased.

The department does its best given existing resources, to treat all inmates humanely and with dignity.

An historical past incident of a prison officer who is alleged to have assaulted an inmate was dealt with. This was an isolated incident. The officer concerned was terminated as a result.

Violence against inmates is illegal and is not tolerated.

In future, it is our intention to expose our staff to further training in human rights so that they are familiarised with their legal obligations towards inmates.

Teokotai Joseph

Secretary

Ministry of Corrective Services

Superannuation or

government fund

With reference to Tuesday’s article on Superannuation (Superfund partners with regional bodies for sustainable investment, October 11)

There’s a club of about 20 participating member countries in the region, that make up The Pacific Island Investment Forum (PIIF), and the Cook Islands Superannuation is part of that.

They all met in Auckland last week, to discuss ways on how to best manage the combined ($15 billion) currently under management.

So an approved memorandum of understanding (MOU) that came out of that meeting, now includes a proposed investment strategy for:

  • Environmental and social impact
  • Sustainable finance for the environment
  • Challenges to develop and overcome a massive infrastructure gap
  • Essential services such as food security, sustainable energy, health, transport and logistics, telecommunications.

This doesn’t sound like a Superannuation fund. This sounds more like a Government department.

If you want the members to invest in these kinds of government type initiatives, with any sort of integrity and transparency, I suggest you throw an extra option into your investment mix.

Currently a member can choose between different funds, it’s their choice.

Put another fund option in there called the ‘Government support fund’ and let the people decide if they want to invest in that.

Always be mindful, it’s the people’s savings we are talking about here, and it is our money you are playing with, the members should be able to choose.

With respect, I have to close off by saying, I think Damian (Beddoes) is a great guy, and he’s done a great job managing our Superannuation to date.

Thank you,

Grant Priest