PM: Serco contract on the line with investigation
Prime Minister John Key has threatened all hell will break loose if private prison provider Serco is found to have broken its contract to run Mt Eden Prison.
The threat comes amid fresh allegations of rape, extortion and a prisoner being released early.
Paula Bennett was certainly having a much better time at the National Party conference than the Corrections Minister.
Sam Lotu-Iiga is facing more allegations about what's happening behind the bars at the Serco-run Mt Eden Prison, with Mr Key issuing Serco a real threat.
"I expect them to meet that contract, and if they don't meet it all hell will break loose."
"I'd like to know what his definition of 'all hell will break loose' is because quite frankly Serco is just sitting on the naughty step," says Labour MP Kelvin Davis.
Today more allegations were revealed, with Labour saying it has referred three allegations of rape to police and an extortion ring, where a prisoner's family was called and told to deposit money into an account.
The Nation also revealed a prisoner was accidentally released early, then told to keep quiet about it, and an allegation prisoners were misclassified by Serco in order to make incidents appear less serious.
"We're asking urgently for any more information, whether there are any more allegations, and we're going to take each of those seriously," says Mr Lotu-Iinga.
So is this a temporary or permanent measure? Will Serco be given the prison back to run? 3 News asked the Corrections Minister that 11 times.
"There are a whole range of possibilities in the contract; one of them is termination."
The Prime Minister was much clearer; the contract could be cancelled, depending on the outcome of the multiple investigations underway.
"Yes, if that was warranted," says Mr Key.
Mr Lotu-Iiga has struggled to handle the crisis amid calls to resign. There's one former minister who popped up today and would happily do the job – Judith Collins.