Rise in prison population gets comic spin

The two teams are named after Bill English’s 2011 quote, when he called prisons a moral and fiscal failure – but it’s not easy to pick a side. “It’s a shame prison separates parents from their kids. After the Government announced plans to spend around $2.5 billion on prison expansion, community group Just Speak sprung into action. “We can’t talk about politics in 2016 without talking about Donald Trump – and I think it’s important to note that his popularity sprung off the back of being able to say controversial and entertaining things,” the Green Party’s Chloe Swarbrick said. Instead of locking them up, the Government should be headhunting them,” comedian Raybon Kan joked. If only more children committed crimes,” Ray O’Leary quipped. A panel of comedians and activists joined together in Wellington on Wednesday night to provide entertainment on a topic that’s usually not entertaining – prisons. The debaters say entertainment hooks people into a serious topic in a different way. It wasn’t just comedians getting involved either, with MPs and academics giving it a go too. “I think the Government perceive housing Maori in prison as part of the Treaty settlement,” sociologist and ex-inmate Dr Paul Wood joked. It’s a panel show with a difference – and with the Government increasing its spending on corrections facilities, it’s timely. And ultimately there were no winners on Wednesday night – with New Zealand’s prison muster topping 10,000 for the first time today, it’s an issue that will carry on well outside the confines of debate. “Many entrepreneurs have businesses that go into the red – these ones stay in the black. It wanted to start a conversation, giving some uncomfortable truths along with laughs. That’s their power.