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Govt won't end privately-run prisons: Key

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/10/2016

A scathing report on Serco's negligence at Mt Eden Prison doesn't prove private management is a failure, Prime Minister John Key says.

The just-released inquiry report says fight clubs were weekly affairs at Mt Eden, guards sometimes played pool instead of watching inmates and some serious assaults initially went unreported.

Asked whether the report was proof that private management had failed, Mr Key said it wasn't.

"It's proof Serco failed to carry out the contract it agreed to," he told reporters.

"I don't think it's wrong to have a private prison provider - at Wiri they seem to be doing a good job."

Mr Key says the Department of Corrections has to share the blame for what happened at Mt Eden.

"The department, which had oversight, should have picked it up earlier," he said.

The Greens are calling for an end to private management and Labour MP Kelvin Davis, who blew the whistle on the fight clubs, says the department's monitors should be sacked because they were "absolutely incompetent".

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