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Youth Justice Facility Proposal Flawed - Mark

11 March 2006

Youth Justice Facility Proposal Flawed - Mark

On 10 March New Zealand First MP Ron Mark met with members of the Kaharaoa Prison Action Group in Rotorua to discuss strong local objections to Child Youth and Family’s proposal to build a secure youth justice facility at a site in Te Waerenga Road.

Mr Mark was taken on a tour of the intended the site and neighbouring properties by the Action Group, and at a meeting later in the day spoke with other members of the community and listened to their objections and concerns.

Afterwards Mr Mark said “I remain unconvinced that this is a suitable site for this facility, and I have given local residents an undertaking that I will take it up with the Minister.

“The decision to choose the Te Waerenga site regretfully bears many of the hallmarks of CYF’s flawed Manderville decision, when they decided to build a secure youth detention centre in Waimakariri, also in the middle of a settlement of rural lifestyle blocks.

“Having already written to the Minister on this matter, and now having seen the site for myself, I have concerns not only as to the appropriateness of the site but the real cost of such a development.

“With there being so much controversy and concern at this present time surrounding prison construction and cost blow-out, it is important to realise that this proposed facility is already over budget without a sod being turned,’ said Mr Mark.

“The decision to deliberately exceed the budget and to pay considerably above market valuation for the property is based on the Department’s own premise that subsequent costs for resource consent and legal fees, among others, would be lower for this particular site,’ he explained.

“That only intensifies my concerns and convinces me of the need to hold discussions with the Minister, which I shall be doing.

“Child Youth and Family must know that they are in for a protracted and expensive legal battle.

“Having seen the surrounding beautiful lifestyle blocks where families, many with children, have invested their life savings, I can fully understand why they are upset, angry and resolving to fight this all the way,’ concluded Mr Mark.

ENDS

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