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'Nimby' concerns delay S. Auck facility

27 April 2001 Media Statement

'Nimby' concerns delay S. Auck facility


The reluctance of some to accept prisons near their communities is holding up the process of building them, Corrections Minister Matt Robson says.

He says the announcement of a preferred site for the South Auckland Men’s Corrections Facility is about a month away.

The process is taking longer than he wants, but he says has asked the Department Of Corrections to double-check short-listed sites to reduce the potential for challenge. Double-checking has delayed site selection.

"Wherever corrections facilities are proposed, strong emotions are aroused. The 'not in my backyard' syndrome means any facility will likely be challenged. There has already been a potentially lengthy Environment Court challenge to the proposed facility in Northland. We have to expect that the same challenges could be pursued in South Auckland.

“We need to be very confident on the technical, social and cultural elements before the site is finally selected. We will have high regard for the wishes of any community near which a facility is proposed. But we also need to respect the needs of New Zealand as a whole, to house more inmates in facilities that will help to reduce re-offending.

"The simple reality is that if New Zealanders want to lock up far more people for longer, then they have to go somewhere.

"One of the main consequences of the calls for longer prisons sentences is that a lot more people are going to have prisons in their areas unless I am successful in turning around more offenders before they get to prison and reducing the likelihood of inmates coming back to prison.

"One way we know we can reduce re-offending is by locating inmates closer to their family or whanau and other support networks. That is why a facility in South Auckland is important.

"I hope to announce a preferred site for the South Auckland men's facility by the end of next month," Matt Robson said.

ENDS

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