Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Family told to move from paedophile's sight, MP says

Labour MP Trevor Mallard questioned the placement of a sex offender in his electorate. Photo: Mark Mitchell
Labour MP Trevor Mallard questioned the placement of a sex offender in his electorate. Photo: Mark Mitchell

A family with two young girls were told by Corrections to play on the other side of their house after a paedophile was moved in next door, Labour's Trevor Mallard says.

Mallard made the allegation today while questioning Corrections Minister Judith Collins about the placement of sex offender Robert John McCorkindale in the Lower Hutt suburb of Maungaraki.

"Does the minister agree with advice given by Corrections to the neighbouring parents of 5- and 6-year old girls, who for years have had a paddling pool on their deck, now overlooked by this paedophile, that they should modify their parenting and have their girls play on the other side of the house?"

Collins replied: "If that report is accurate, then that would seem to be an inappropriate comment."

The placement of sex offenders in the community has come under greater scrutiny after a man who raped a 13-year-old girl was re-housed next door to Jean Batten School in Mangere after his release.

He has since been moved, but further cases have upset communities in other areas.

Collins said today she had "a great deal of sympathy" for parents and the public.

Corrections took into account proximity to schools, kindergartens, parks, swimming pools, thoroughfares, and other factors when placing sex offenders, she said.

Corrections' top priority in relocating offenders was public safety, and mental health teams, police, and social services were consulted about placements.

The department's policy was not to place them within 1km of schools, though the minister noted that 500 metres "may be more realistic" in cities.

Mallard criticised Corrections' measurement method, which was based on distance by road, rather than the distance between a house and a school.

McCorkindale could jump his fence and be in a nearby school playground "in less than three minutes", he said.

Collins said she could not comment on specific cases.

However, she said that McCorkindale had already spent 10 years in the community under intensive supervision and had not reoffended during that time.

"I think it would be helpful to the member if he knew that intensive supervision ... means that someone is with him 24 hours, seven days a week, as well as GPS monitoring."

- NZ Herald

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