Four men convicted of child sex offences are being moved from a Whangarei house close to childcare centres and a popular inner city park.

The Northern Advocate revealed a bungalow on a central city street was opened last December to house the offenders on their release from prison.

The Dent St facility is within a few hundred metres of three childcare centres, a children's playground and a community hall used by various community and youth groups.

The facility is in a bungalow formerly used as a beauty salon and overlooks Laurie Hall Park, a popular thoroughfare for students from nearby schools, and a playground frequently used by young children.


In a statement, Department of Corrections national commissioner Rachel Leota said reintegrating and housing these offenders could be very challenging and the safety of communities was paramount.

"After reviewing the details of this case, I have spoken to local management and instructed them to find alternative accommodation for these offenders."

Leota said the property would continue to be used for reintegration purposes but not for child sex offenders.

Previously owners of two Whangarei childcare centres said they were not consulted about the facility housing convicted child sex offenders which was operating just a few hundred metres from both.

Alan and Jackie Lints, owners and directors of Educare in Norfolk St, said they had not been consulted about the facility and next week would be contacting Corrections, wanting answers.

They learned of the facility yesterday after inquiries by the Northern Advocate.
"Ideally we don't want it there but society requires it, but I think they should reconsider the current location," Jackie Lints said.

"Safety of our children is a paramount and we have procedures in place to ensure their safety."

Lin Smith, owner and head teacher of Smiths City Childcare Centre, was disappointed she had not been informed by Corrections that child sex offenders were at the property — 150m from her childcare centre in Hunt St.

"I have absolutely had no contact about this and they did not consult. It's disappointing to have this so close to so many childcare centres," Smith said after learning about the use of the property, which was formerly used as a beauty salon.

Three of the offenders are on extended supervision orders, which requires them to comply with extensive conditions including GPS monitoring, curfews, and counselling as directed.

The fourth offender is subject to release conditions. Since moving in, one of the men had been charged with breaching conditions. There was a live-in manager to provide round-the-clock oversight and support.

The Department of Corrections said no offender would be allowed at the Whangarei house if they were considered a risk.

"The safety of the community is Corrections' and our providers' primary priority. No offender would be permitted to reside at an address if it was considered that their risk could not be safely managed and public safety upheld,'' operations director Corrections Services Lynette Cave said.

"Community Corrections staff carry out an extensive and robust process to assess the suitability of every address proposed to accommodate a person with a conviction for child sex offending."

A range of factors were considered before the Dent St facility was opened, including the location of victims, proximity to places designed for children, physical factors of the property such as shared access, access to support services, including Community Corrections and police.