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Nats rally around Corrections Minister over Serco scandal

National Party faithful have rallied around Corrections Minister Sam Llotu-Iiga and his handling of the Serco crisis at the party's annual conference. 

The issue of privatising social services was a hot topic at the political party’s AGM in Auckland today. Source: 1 NEWS

Following a week of damning allegations of violence at the Mt Eden Corrections Facility, the Department of Corrections has taken over the management of the prison from Serco, the private company employed by the Government to run the facility.

While Prime Minister John Key steered clear of it in his opening speech to the conference, his deputy, Bill English, publicly backed Corrections Minister Sam Llotu-Iiga and his handling of the crisis. This after a nightmare week for Mr Llotu-Iiga that saw him pressured to resign.

"This is a team that supports each other. We all get our turn in the media and this last week it's Sam. And he has the total support of the Cabinet and the caucus," Mr English told delegates.

Smuggled videos reveal graphic and violent fighting sessions inside an Auckland jail. Source: Supplied

Mr Lotu-Iiga was out to repay that support, pledging his commitment to the task he been given to "fix" our prisons.   

Now into it's seventh year in Government, National is pushing harder to get more private companies involved in social services like housing and welfare.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley told TVNZ's Q+A last month she'd be open to use Serco for child services.

"They would need to be offering something better than current services, but yes, I would be open to that," she said.

But that enthusiasm seems to have faded slightly now, Mrs Tolley telling ONE News today, "I think we'd have to have a very good look".