Authorities are negotiating with two prisoners who are refusing to come down from the roof of Manawatu Prison.

The pair escaped from an internal exercise yard about 3pm yesterday and stayed on the roof overnight.

Manawatu Prison manager Peter Howe told a press conference today that authorities were negotiating with the pair but would not say whether they were protesting or whether it was a failed escape attempt.

He would also not be drawn on who they were or what crimes they committed.


The prisoners were in good spirits. They had access to food and water and were engaging in the negotiations.

Police have set up cordons and prison staff have increased patrols around the perimeter of the prison.

Mr Howe said there was no risk the men could escape and no risk to the public.

"We have the situation well in hand".

The prison was in lockdown and all visits and programmes had been temporarily suspended.

An investigation into how the men were able to slip out of the exercise yard and get to the roof would be carried out.

- Manawatu Guardian