14 Aug 2018

Use of motels for high-risk offenders under review - Corrections

8:08 pm on 14 August 2018

Corrections is reviewing the use of motels as emergency accommodation for high-risk offenders, and has charged a convicted sex offender with breaching his court-imposed conditions.

Jacinda Ardern.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

It's come at the same time the prime minister admits a government department screw-up, for placing the known sex offender in the same motel as vulnerable children.

Jacinda Ardern yesterday called it a huge oversight by government departments.

"Obviously government departments have not communicated with one another. It seems to be a huge oversight and we have to expect better," she said.

"When government departments are putting two categories of at-risk people into the same environment, then we need to be accountable for that. I don't think anybody would think that passes the test of a sensible placement."

Corrections said it now has a plan in motion to reduce the number of high risk offenders staying in motels, to zero.

In a draft statement accidentally sent to journalists, Corrections' National Commissioner Rachel Leota said a team was put together two weeks ago to "review the circumstances of all high risk offenders who are residing in emergency accommodation in motels".

She said there had already been a 30 percent reduction in the number of offenders residing in a motel, to about 19.

But she said sexual offenders were particularly hard to place, given the community opposition and animosity towards such offenders.

Corrections has also charged "the specific offender referred to" with breaching the conditions of his court-imposed order, and he has been remanded in custody to prison.

It won't comment further as the matter is subject to investigation, prosecution and review.