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Corrections' 'prudent' claim is a sad joke

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

2 February 2006

Corrections' 'prudent' claim is a sad joke

A claim by the Corrections Department that it is a responsible user of economic resources would be funny if it did not involve the cavalier use of public money, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is commenting on a Corrections statement that being chosen as a finalist in the Energywise Awards 'is recognition of the hard work Corrections has put into ensuring it is a committed, responsible user of environmental, social and economic resources.'

"You really have to question this claim by Corrections Chief Executive Barry Matthews.

"How can he say his department is a responsible user of economic resources when it is in the middle of a construction budget blow-out of mammoth proportions that is the subject of a review by the State Services Commission and the Treasury?

"In 2002 Mr Matthews' predecessor, Mark Byers, put a price tag of $400 million on the building of four new prisons, but two weeks ago Minister Damien O'Connor said the cost would actually be $890 million.

"How does a $490 million miscalculation equate to being a responsible user of this country's economic resources?

"Each of those prisons was over budget by many tens of millions of dollars but the department still claims it is a prudent manager.

"The department and this Minister have their heads buried in the sand," says Mr Power.

ENDS

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