JAILHOUSE BLUES: Old regional prisons are going to be closed and replaced with a shiny new one at Wiri in South Auckland. Closing prisons—that must be a good thing, right? Well, the new prison is privately-built and run. Plus without regional prisons—will prisoners lose touch with the families? Will it impact their rehabilitation? Do the closings mean a loss of jobs? But then again—is one new modern prison better than a bunch of run down old prisons? Is a gaol from the 1860s conducive to rehabilitation?
NATIONAL vs. LOCAL: Local council debt and our rates are on the rise and the Government wants to do something about it. Local Government Minister Dr. Nick Smith is expected to announce sweeping reforms this week aimed at reducing debt levels and curbing local powers. Are the reforms needed? What should we expect to get from our council rates? What should local councils be responsible for vs. National Government? Will any reforms mean we pay less?
Live pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 21st of March, 9:05pm, on TVNZ 7
The Panel: Labour MP Phil Goff, Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira, and National MP Michael Woodhouse.