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Regional Prison Brings 250 New Jobs

Two hundred and fifty new jobs will be created from the decision to make a site five kilometres south of Meremere the preferred site for a new South Auckland corrections facility for men.

Corrections Minister Matt Robson announced the preferred site today, saying that hundreds more jobs would be involved in building the 650-bed facility. But he says the suitability of the preferred site is even more important than the number of long-term jobs it will bring to the area.

The secure facility will be off Hampton Downs Road, after the Minister rejected a site accessed through Hall Road in response to community concern. It will enclose thirty hectares of the 214 hectare site. Another site in Gregory Road was assessed in technical reports as less suitable than Hampton Downs Road.

The public will have a further opportunity to make submissions on the preferred site after the Minister begins the Resource Management Act process.

The site lies in the rohe of Tainui, and Matt Robson said he had invited Tainui to develop a partnership agreement in regard to the facility, which will include a Maori focus unit. The agreement will cover not just the new prison, but corrections services throughout Tainui.

"This site is secure, providing substantial buffer zones from surrounding farmland. As a regional prison, it will allow more successful re-integration of offenders. It is unsafe for the public if offenders are not successfully re-integrated, because they will re-offend if we fail."

Matt Robson dismissed 'Nimby' concerns as 'anti-jobs and pro-crime.'

"I'm pro-job and anti-crime. Wherever in New Zealand new corrections facilities are suggested, there is someone who wants it somewhere else. But if we want more prisons then those prisons have to go somewhere.

"I want to put corrections facilities where employment opportunities will be maximised and where the public will be safest. Safety includes the successful re-integration of offenders into the community when they eventually get released," Matt Robson said.

Ends

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