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Labour wasting $8.5m on prison change

Hon. Tony Ryall MP
National Law & Order spokesman

5 August 2004

Labour wasting $8.5m on prison change

The Government will waste $8.5 million of taxpayers' money simply because it doesn't like the thought of privately run prisons, says National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"This is political correctness gone mad."

He is commenting after the release of a pre-budget document from the Department of Corrections outlining that the Government is budgeting $20 million to run Auckland Central Remand Prison when its private contract runs out next year.

Mr Ryall says it costs about $11.5 million for private enterprise to run the prison.

"Why is the taxpayer going to pay $8.5 million more to run that prison? It doesn't have to.

"Minister Swain tells us the Government can run that prison for $7,000 per inmate cheaper than private enterprise. In actual fact, using their own budget figures, the cost per inmate will be $28,000 more than if it were privately run.

"This makes no sense at all," Mr Ryall says.

"Helen Clark is chucking taxpayers' money away. Instead of paying $11.5 million, it will cost taxpayers $20 million. It is quite clear that private enterprise can run prisons better and cheaper.

"That $8.5 million would be much better spent on crime prevention or early intervention programmes to stop people going to prison in the first place."

Ends

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