The fire that broke out in the older part of Waikeria Prison
Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi rejects claims by Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis that he prolonged the Waikeria Prision riot.
Waititi told Te Ao Mārama Davis is still holding on to the issue.
“He was asleep at the wheel,” said Waititi.
“Where was he when the call for help was made?”
Davis has accused Waititi of delaying the end the five night stand-off between 16 Waikeria inmates and corrections staff which resulted in parts of the prison being destroyed by fire.
Waititi was eventually granted access inside the prison after calls from inmates to help end a standoff.
In an interview with Te Ao Tapatahi earlier, Davis said he believes the inmates contacted the Māori Party for help because they wanted political attention.
“I think that his (Rawiri Waititi) involvement actually increased the duration of the riot probably by 24 to maybe 72 hours.”
Davis said the inmates had initially reneged on Waititi’s input to help resolve the riot.
“So they eventually said they would surrender and Corrections used Rawiri Waititi as part of the plan as a bit of insurance and act of good faith.”