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Massive cost blowout for Meremere prison

Hon Tony Ryall
National Law and Order Spokesman

23 March 2004

Massive cost blowout for Meremere prison

The Government has confirmed that the construction budget for the South Auckland Men's Prison has blown out to $250 million from its original $188 million, says National MP Tony Ryall.

"National predicted this blow-out last November when it revealed that the Treasury and Justice Ministry were conducting an investigation into the financial management of the 650 bed prison project at Meremere.

"The Labour Government must immediately release the Treasury and Justice investigation into this project to explain why the spending is out of control.

"A 33% blow-out is on a scale unheard of - and the public needs to be assured this is not a bottomless pit.

"National says future prisons should be built and operated by the private sector. The private company that runs the remand prison in Auckland says it could build the South Auckland prison for $130 million.

"Labour should dump the ban on private prisons and spend the millions it would save elsewhere in the system. Backing private prisons is a not a 'no-brainer', they are cheaper and more effective," said Mr Ryall.

Ends

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