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Alexander: 'Pink Think' Behind Jail Blind Spot

Media Statement For immediate release Wednesday, 11 February, 2004

Alexander: 'Pink Think' Behind Jail Blind Spot

United Future's Marc Alexander today congratulated Corrections Minister Paul Swain for benchmarking New Zealand's prisons against those of other countries, and promptly invited him to extend that comparison to the performance of the private Auckland Central Remand Prison that the Government wants to close.

"I was filled with hope to hear Mr Swain make these comparisons in Parliament today, but these same hopes were dashed moments later when he again put up the ridiculous ideological brick wall that means a Labour government won't countenance private prisons," he said.

"And yet the best performing prison in this country is a private one," Mr Alexander, United Future's law and order spokesman, said.

"Unfortunately the Minister will not make the comparison because of Labour 'pink think', so I will make it easy for him.

"The facts are very simple: the only privately run prison in the country is also the only one to have achieved an international quality accreditation and it saves the money of taxpayers, some of whom are crime victims.

"It provides more efficient staffing levels while maintaining quality care of inmates, and it costs the taxpayer just $43,000 per inmate per year, as against $72,000 for a comparable remand facility.

"This country spends $51 million a year on remand services, and yet that privately run prison gets just $11 million of that total, while housing more than 40 percent of the country's remand prisoners.

"Now, Mr Swain, please stack the record of our state system up against that," Mr Alexander asked.


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