Press Release – Green Party
The $300 million dollars being spent to set up a private prison is a waste of money that further pushes New Zealand down the dangerous road of privatising our justice system, said the Green Party today.
“The Government is going to waste $300 million dollars on a private prison that isn’t needed in a time when they are slashing spending on public services that people do need,” said Green Party corrections spokesperson David Clendon.
In July, the Law and Order Select Committee heard the justice sector’s forecast of a prison population of 8,300 by 2016, and that Corrections require a buffer of 1,200 spare beds for contingencies. Upon completion, the new 960 bed Wiri prison in South Auckland will bring the total capacity of New Zealand prisons to 10,800, even after the planned closure of older prisons and units.
The Ministry of Justice is predicting that there will be 600 fewer prisoners per year from 2017 onwards.
“The argument that such a big prison is needed in Auckland doesn’t stack up,” said Mr Clendon.
“The solution we really need is smaller units around the country with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration.
“The Government needs to reprioritise its spending into facilities and programmes they are designed with reintegration in mind, which facilitate education, job training and the development of support networks that will break the cycle of reoffending. Over time this will reduce the financial and social cost of crime, and help reverse the massive spending increases of the last decade.
“The total cost of this contract is going to be $840 million dollars which is a colossal waste of money in tight financial times.
“To make matters worse Wiri will be run by Serco, a private prison company, that has been linked to violence, lack of adequate healthcare, and overcrowding in its overseas operations,” said Mr Clendon.