Convicted murderer Phillip Smith's allegations that a Corrections officer helped him escape custody last month are unsubstantiated, the Corrections union says.
In a statement released through his lawyer Tony Ellis last night, Smith, 40, alleged a prison officer assisted in helping him obtain a passport and gave him a smartphone and movies.
Smith alleged he received "numerous benefits" from the officer from the time of their first meeting to sometime between October and November 2012.
Corrections Association president Beven Hanlon told Radio New Zealand today that Smith's claims relied on his credibility and were unsubstantiated.
"What we are saying is put up or shut up really.
"If he has got a corrupt Corrections officer, as he claims, nobody wants to be working with that person -- put up the evidence let's get it done and let's bunk them together if they're such good friends."
Mr Hanlon said the fact Smith claimed he had details of this prison officer proved nothing.
"Unfortunately it is not uncommon for prisoners to get the details of a Corrections officer, it's not hard. Details of a Corrections officer prove nothing.
"We get allegations made by prisoners with those sorts of details all the time."
Mr Hanlon said he believed Smith released the statement to get himself into the media.
"He is doing that successfully because it is a fantastic story to put out there. That is why we are saying put up or shut up.
"We haven't heard anything yet that actually substantiates anything he said," Mr Hanlon said.
Lawyer tells Herald claims not being taken seriously
Tony Ellis told the Herald this morning that allegations Smith made about a Corrections officer assisting him in his escape to South America did not appear to be taken seriously by authorities.
"It is concerning that there is no real investigation," he said.
"There is supposed to be a big high level investigation and no one has asked Mr Smith a thing. How can you have an investigation without talking to the main participant?
"What seems to be happening is nobody is actually doing any investigating."
Dr Ellis was hoping to speak with police today about the specifics of an investigation.
He said there were "big questions" that needed to be answered in light of Smith's allegations yesterday of a prison guard helping him obtain the passport that he used to flee New Zealand, among other things.
"The thing that gets me is that, having a look at the Crimes Act, escaping custody has a six year (in prison) penalty and assisting escape has a seven year penalty," he told the Herald.
"Presumably it's within the Act just to discourage law enforcement officers and others from helping people escape. It is more serious to help someone escape than escape itself."
Dr Ellis said it was disappointing that Corrections would not comment on what they were doing to investigate Smith's claims.
Dr Ellis said it was important to remember that while Smith was a murderer and child sex offender, he was not on any active charges relating to those crimes.
"That was 18 years ago," he said.
Smith was arrested at a Rio de Janeiro hostel last month, after fleeing New Zealand while on a 72-hour limited release from Spring Hill Prison.
Corrections: Claims referred to police
Corrections northern regional commissioner Jeanette Burns said the allegations made by Smith were unsubstantiated and incomplete and had been referred to the police.
"The allegations may turn out to be serious but until they're properly investigated and tested in court they remain just that, allegations," Ms Burns said.
"They can form part of the ongoing investigation into his departure from New Zealand during a temporary release while under the supervision of his sponsor.
"These claims could also have an impact on the current court case in which he is facing charges."
Ms Burns said she was unable to make any further comment while inquiries were underway.
"While this prisoner faces charges and an ongoing investigation into his actions Corrections is unable to comment until the legal process has run its course and the ministerial inquiry is completed," she said.
Police: Smith will be spoken to
Auckland City District commander, Superintendent Richard Chambers, says a police investigation into the activities of Phillip John Smith prior to his departure from New Zealand and during his absence from the country, is ongoing.
"Any information offered to the investigation will be assessed and its relevance evaluated.
Police anticipate interviewing Smith at a time convenient to him, his legal representative and investigating officers," he said.