3 Oct 2014

Minister stands by call to block visit

6:56 pm on 3 October 2014

The Minister of Corrections is standing by her decision to block a Green Party MP from visiting a prisoner.

prison bars and barbed wire

Photo: PHOTO NZ

Under the law, MPs are allowed to visit prisons whenever they consider it appropriate, and talk to prisoners about their treatment.

The Greens' Corrections spokesperson Dave Clendon said he tried to arrange a visit to see an inmate at Auckland's Paremoremo Prison.

The prison told him his visit had to be cleared by the office of Corrections Minister Anne Tolley, which then told him he coud not visit the prisoner because he was not yet an MP.

"Which leads me to the question, well, if I'm not an MP, who is? And by what right does the minister make any judgment because surely she cannot be a minister if she's not also a Member of Parliament."

Mr Clendon is seeking the advice of the Clerk of the House on what he can do.

Ms Tolley said Mr Clendon was not a confirmed Member of Parliament until the final vote count was released tomorrow.

She said there were different rules for ministers, who continue to hold their ministerial warrant until a new executive is sworn in.

MPs are due to be sworn in to Parliament on 21 October.

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