Prime Minister Bill English has said National will not make changes to the Bail Act following suggestions the Labour party would look at reviewing it.

Labour deputy leader and corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis told The Nation this morning looking at the legislation governing bail would be one of the ways Labour would address the growing number of people in New Zealand prisons.

He said there were people "languishing" on remand who were pleading guilty when they might be innocent, just because they wanted to get off remand.

Davis made the comments during a debate with National's Corrections Minister Louise Upston.


English later told reporters judges were interpreting recent Bail Act changes more rigorously, but National would not tweak it to adjust for that.

"The government passed the tougher bail laws, those are being implemented I think probably even more rigorously than we expected," he said.

He said the government could not reduce the number of people on remand but could do more with those people while they were there.

"A whole range" of things would be needed to reduce numbers of people in prison, and those had to be done in the context of public safety.

Upston told The Nation's Lisa Owen there was no need to review bail laws.

"In terms of bail legislation and sentencing, it's absolutely spot on," she said.

Upston said National had an "unrelenting focus" on reducing reoffending.

In the last year, Corrections had supported 2000 prisoners into jobs once they left custody, she said.


Davis said New Zealand was heading towards having 18,000 people in prison.

"We have to have a paradigm shift in the way Corrections is run."