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Why are Otago Prison beds $404,000 dearer?

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

28 May 2006

Why are Otago Prison beds $404,000 dearer?

The Corrections Minister should explain why there was a $404,000 difference between the average cost of a new cell at Rimutaka Prison and those at the new Otago Regional Prison, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing the answer to a parliamentary question that shows 180 new cells, plus receiving, health, at-risk and kitchen facilities at Rimutaka Prison in Upper Hutt cost a total of $44.3 million – an average of $246,000 per cell.

Corrections Department figures show the average cost of a cell at Milton, in Otago, is $650,000.

“That is a huge difference, and one I am sure the public would like explained.

“Sure, the Rimutaka cells were built on an existing site but they still required similar building materials and had similar labour requirements.

“So why are cells at Otago $404,000 dearer to build?

“Perhaps it’s because the Otago job was supervised by the department’s Regional Prisons Development Project team, whereas the Rimutaka upgrade was overseen by the Assets and Property team.

“It should be remembered that the Regional Prisons Development Project team, which is run by former Corrections employee John Hamilton at a rate of $1,800 a day, has presided over a construction budget blowout of $490 million over the four new regional prisons.

“That blowout included such items as an $11 million bill for landscaping alone.

“Perhaps the Minister could explain if the difference in the cost of cells is because the RPDP uses quite different contracting methods to those employed by the Assets and Property team.

“No wonder the Otago Regional Prison is known by locals as The Milton Hilton."

Attachment: Parliamentary question 3782

Parliamentary Question 3782 (2006)

Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (11 April 2006):

What was the cost of the upgrade of Rimutaka Prison, specified by the number of additional prisoners that were accommodated as a result of the upgrade?
Hon Damien O'Connor (Minister of Corrections) replied: The budget and actual cost of the upgrade was $44.3 million. This included 180 new cells and the building of receiving, health, at-risk and kitchen facilities.


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