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Prison beds cost $650,000 each

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

19 January 2006

Prison beds cost $650,000 each

National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power, says the construction budget blow-out at Otago and Springhill prisons has pushed the cost per bed into the stratosphere.

- The original cost per bed at the 335-bed Otago (Milburn) prison was $462,000, based on the original cost of $155 million. That has spiralled to $650,000, based on the latest Government costing of the prison of $218 million.

- The original cost of a bed at the 650-bed Springhill prison was $283,000, based on the original construction cost of $184 million. That has more than doubled to $585,000 per bed, based on the latest cost of $380 million.

"These figures speak for themselves," says Mr Power.

"You could buy a very good house in both these areas for the cost of one cell. Real Estate Institute figures show the median house price in the Springhill area is $195,000 and in the Milburn area $130,000.

"It's rich of Damien O'Connor to blame the blow-out on higher costs of materials and labour when Cabinet papers quoted by the NZ Herald show that half of the extra money needed for Springhill - $50 million - is due to 'omissions from previous estimates'.

"It is also very concerning that he is now allowing Corrections to use cash earmarked for other projects, such as maintenance at Mt Eden, to cover the increased construction costs.

"He must assure the public that deferring such projects will not compromise security at our prisons.

"This is a shambles of the highest order."

ENDS

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