An investigation is underway after a disturbing video surfaced on YouTube of Mt Eden Prison inmates fighting while being watched and encouraged by other inmates.
The videos also show some of those participating with gang insignia tattooed on their bodies.
Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says this shows once again that SERCO should never have been allowed to run prisons in New Zealand.
“Just a few weeks ago, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga was telling a select committee that SERCO oversight and management of Mt Eden prison was ‘of the very highest level. Now we see an organised fight club in one of the Government’s supposedly flagship prisons. The fact that this has been able to go on for so long and with such organisation is horrifying."
The videos show the fights going uninterrupted and many continue until one of the people fighting hits the ground.
Questions have also been raised as to how events like this could go unnoticed by staff responsible for securing the prison. SERCO officials say they have zero tolerance for violence and will be investigating the matter in depth.
Jacinda Ardern says, “The public will be astounded to see the lack of intervention, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. SERCO are understaffing Mt Eden, making it dangerous for both staff, and prisoners. We’ve been raising this point for well over a year and with no response from the Minister.”
While an investigation is currently underway, Ardern says it will not stop the string of incidents happening at Mt Eden.