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Ngawha Prison A Triumph Of Dogma Over Reason

ACT Northland-based MP Dr Muriel Newman said today that the news the Government would press on with building of a new prison on a totally inappropriate site at Ngawha was a huge blow to the New Zealand taxpayer.

"The process of choosing this site and planning the prison has been flawed from the outset. The current proposed site wasn't even among the 80 or so properties originally considered - but then again, neither was a property at Puhipuhi previously bought as a potential prison site.

"In the meantime the projected cost of building a prison on the chosen site has skyrocketed from $40 million to $100 million.

"Corrections Minister Matt Robson has tried to accuse those opposed to the prison of taking a `not in my backyard' approach. But the reality is, that my opposition and that of many others, to this prison, has been because the site is wrong.

"It is misguided to locate a prison next to a geothermal valley which has the potential to become a major tourist attraction for the Northland region.

"Treasury officials in papers I obtained under the Official Information Act described the site as: `Particularly unsuitable, given the presence of a stream that runs through the facility, the lack of a flat building platform and geothermal issues, to name a few specific problems. These issues significantly raise the cost of the prison'.

"Once again this Government has been driven by its own political agenda, rather than by logic, on this issue. The taxpayers are the ones who will suffer," Dr Newman said.

Ends

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