Waikato Regional Council and Department of Corrections Central Region have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that provides a foundation to work collaboratively to achieve positive environmental outcomes.
Deputy Regional Commissioner Maree Chetwin is looking forward to building on the environmental and conservation work being done in Central Region’s three prisons and Community Corrections sites.
“This MOU formalises and further strengthens our relationship with Waikato Regional Council. Both organisations strongly believe that this partnership will result in positive outcomes for the natural environment, offenders, and the wider community.
“Better public value will be achieved by enhancing the protection of our beautiful region while providing staff and offenders with environmental education and skill development. This is another way that this will assist us to reduce re-offending by encouraging these men and women to become productive members of our society.”
Corrections Central Region launched the Environmental and Conservation Friendly Corrections initiative earlier this year. The aim is to raise awareness and educate staff and offenders about conservation and environmental practices that make a difference. The initiative follows on from the Good to Grow Partnership between Corrections and Department of Conservation (DOC).
A committee made up of representatives from Corrections, DOC, Waikato Regional Council and Waste Management New Zealand was formed to drive and support the aims of the initiative. The council has provided support, resources and expertise on environmental education.
“With the help of our partners we’ve already made some great inroads with the initiative. We’ve got recycling centres set up at Spring Hill Corrections Facility and Tongariro Prison, we’re conducting energy audits at our prisons, Waste Management are visiting Community Corrections and prison sites to provide advice, DOC has delivered training and advice on predator traps to staff and offenders, just to name a few,” said Mrs Chetwin.
Council chair Alan Livingston said the Environmental and Conservation Friendly Corrections initiative fits in well with the council’s priorities of a healthy environment and vibrant communities.
“Both parties are recognised as having the ability and desire to shape the Waikato. This document further strengthens the relationship between the two organisations to achieve positive environmental outcomes for the region.
“Hearing what has already been achieved over the years between DOC and Corrections highlights what the council can similarly do to utilise our strengths in the environmental space,” said Cr Livingston.
“One initiative we're currently looking into together is whether paper fire bricks made by prisoners from prison paper waste are clean-burning and could therefore be donated to areas with air quality and socio-economic issues, such as South Waikato. Scientific testing is underway, and if it proves suitable then the operation can easily be scaled up to other prisons and community sites,” he said.