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ACT on Auckland Central Remand Prison handover

ACT on Auckland Central Remand Prison handover

Stephen Franks
Tuesday, 12 July 2005
Press Releases - Crime & Justice

ACT will reverse the Labour Government's ideological opposition to private prisons after the election, ACT Corrections Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

Mr Franks was commenting on the hand back of the Auckland Central Remand Prison from private to state management.

"It is a sad day for staff at the prison who have overseen one of the most successful models of cultural cooperation New Zealand has seen.

"Last week, my colleagues Rodney Hide and Heather Roy were privileged to attend the ceremony marking the end of that partnership. Neither would be thought overly emotional, but they found it extremely moving.

"This hand back is vandalism. It warns anyone thinking of a public-private partnership to build in a huge risk premium in case the New Zealand government reneges.

"The prison's private managers returned their Memorandum of Understanding to Iwi Whanui - representing Auckland region iwi last week. Tonight the partnership ends because Corrections Minister Paul Swain is carrying out state union orders to re-nationalise the prison's management.

"The hand back is the final stage in the destruction of the very special culture that has made that prison outstanding, with a reputation throughout Australasia for meeting the highest standards for a remand prison of safety, rehabilitative training and keeping prisoners locked in.

Mr Franks said Labour's blind ideology would cost taxpayers dearly, with international studies showing private prisons are up to 15 percent cheaper to run than government prisons.

"But the transition cost of over $3 million and yearly extra costs of more than $2 million is actually the least of it. The real scandal is in the calculated destruction of the culture that so embarrassingly showed up the failures of Labour's management of other prisons".

"My message to the staff is to hang on, help is on its way. The management of the prison will be back in private control within a few months with a change of government.

"A Party Vote for ACT will result in many more prisons being freed from the dead hand of state management and union control," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

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