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Go ahead for proposed women’s prison

Go ahead for proposed women’s prison

A new women’s corrections facility proposed for the upper North Island passed a milestone in its development today.

Acting Corrections Minister Margaret Wilson today accepted the Manukau City Council’s recommendation to designate a site for the prison. The designation will secure the Hautu Drive site in Manukau City for the prison.

“I am very pleased with the Council’s recommendation and support for this facility.

“There’s no denying that Mt Eden Women’s Prison is too small and can no longer adequately provide the programmes needed to help women offenders turn their lives around.

“The shortage of beds in the upper North Island areas means that currently there are many women inmates serving their sentences in either Christchurch or Wellington. A new prison will allow inmates to serve their sentences locally and maintain family, whanau and support links. These links are known to aid successful rehabilitation.”

The designation follows a submissions and hearing process managed by the Manukau City Council under the Resource Management Act.

“The designation is the result of several years of consultation and planning. The Department has worked closely with interested parties, site neighbours, hapu and iwi looking for ways to mitigate concerns. The fact that the hearing went smoothly is testament to this groundwork.”

The Department will set up a community liaison group as an ongoing point of contact between Corrections, stakeholders and the local community.

Health and safety issues related to locating the facility in an area largely used for industrial purposes were thoroughly investigated and confirmed to be minimal. However, Ms Wilson agreed to precautionary conditions on the designation and these include placing accommodation units some distance from the neighbouring oil storage facility boundary.

If there are no appeals construction of the facility could begin later this year. It is expected it will take about 18 months to build.

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