Key Points:

One of the prisoners who escaped from a police paddy wagon has been rearrested overnight.

Richard Joseph, 30, was arrested after a police raid on a Tokoroa property shortly after midnight.

Detective Sergeant Kevan Verry said three people related to Joseph have also been arrested for helping the fugitive.

Joseph and a family member will appear in the Tokoroa District Court today, while the two others arrested will appear in court at a later date.

The other two prisoners who escaped with Joseph - Steely Te Rangi and Darren
Snowden - are still on the run after breaking out of a police escort van on Monday morning in suburban Hamilton.

The men, who are known to have associates in the Bay of Plenty and Taupo areas, jumped out of the van at an intersection in Melville before heading for a
Bush-clad gully and have not been seen since.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Police and Corrections is refusing to wade into the row over prisoner transport security despite two escapes from escort vans over the past two weeks.

Waikeria Prison inmates Richard Thomas Joseph, Thomas Te Rangi and Darren William Snowden remain at large after breaking out of a police escort van on Monday morning in suburban Hamilton.

The men, who are known to have associates in the Bay of Plenty and Taupo areas, jumped out of the van at an intersection in Melville before heading for a bushclad gully and have not been seen since.

The incident, which is the second in two weeks after another break-out from a police escort van in Palmerston North and the sixth recently, has prompted an operational review by staff from within the Waikato police district.

But there has been no such response from the higher echelons, with Police and Corrections Minister Judith Collins refusing to answer Herald questions despite the National Party previously demanding accountability from Labour ministers over such failures.
"She generally doesn't comment on operational matters such as this," said a spokesman.

Labour law and order spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said Ms Collins needed to tell New Zealanders what she was doing about the problem.

"In November 2007, National's justice and corrections spokesman Simon Power issued a media statement saying that two escapes in five days was a worry," he said.

"Well, if two escapes in five days is a worry, how do you classify six escapes in seven days? When does a mere oops become a gigantic whoops?"

Hamilton police will not reveal how the men managed to get free but Waikato police communications manager Andrew McAlley blamed a "technical shortcoming" at Hamilton Central police station which has now been fixed.

Police spokesman Jon Neilson said the six escapes should be put into context as 120,000 people were transported by police between prisons and courts each year.