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Corrections staff pay rates out of kilter

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

14 June 2006

Corrections staff pay rates out of kilter

The Corrections Department seems to have its priorities wrong when it comes to what it pays some staff, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing answers to parliamentary questions that show the pay structures of two groups of staff responsible for prisons construction projects.

They show that 34% of the Regional Prisons Development Project team, which is responsible for building the four new prisons, are paid more than $90,000 each, while only 5% of the Assets and Property team, which builds cells at existing sites, are paid in that range.

In addition, 8% of RPDP team members get less than $40,000, while 33% of the Assets team are paid in that range.

“These numbers do seem way out of kilter with performance,” says Mr Power.

“The RPDP team is presiding over a construction budget blowout of $490 million, in which it is building cells at Otago Regional Prison, known locally as the Milton Hilton, for an average cost of $650,000 each.

“Compare that with the work of the Assets and Property team, which built new cells at Rimutaka Prison for an average of only $246,000, and you do begin to wonder who is producing better value for taxpayer dollars.

“And don’t forget that the figures for the RPDP team don’t include the cost of private contractors, which we don’t know because Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor won’t tell us.

“What we do know is that the RPDP is being led by former Corrections employee John Hamilton, who is paid $1,800 a day.

“Let’s hope the State Services Commission’s review of the construction blowout can shed more light on exactly what is going on inside the Regional Prisons Development Project.”

ENDS

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