Corrections Minister Judith Collins’ self-created image as a ‘tough-talking, no-nonsense minister’ is being dented as she encourages prisoners to munch on raw carrots and muesli bars and to sing along with each other, says Labour’s Law and Order spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.
“The mind quite frankly boggles at the thought of hard-nosed prisoners singing Back on the Chain Gang and sharing carrots sticks,” Clayton Cosgrove said.
“But that’s what they are being encouraged to do to help them stop smoking by 1 July, D Day for making prisons smokefree.
“The prospect of the 70 per cent of prisoners who currently smoke stopping in four weeks, even with the help of a carrot stick and nicotine therapy, is remote, no matter how welcome it might be.
“It would have been far better if the Government had embarked on a staged programme to make prisons smoke-free without a heavy-handed approach of a deadline that will add to stress and danger for guards and management,” Clayton Cosgrove said.
“But light-handed and Judith Collins are scarcely mutually-compatible concepts, whereas heavy-handed and Judith Collins certainly are.”
Clayton Cosgrove said he was not sure whether rumours that Judith Collins planned to install karaoke machines in all social areas of prisons were likely to prove true.
“I’m not discounting anything, however.”