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New prison example of Labour's waste

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

22 June 2006

New prison example of Labour’s waste

Auckland Region Women’s Prison, which opens today, is another monument to the Labour Government’s irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

“This is one of four prisons built by this Government that are so far coming in $490 million over the original pricing.

“And as recently as yesterday the Corrections Department’s chief financial officer could not give an absolute assurance that the blowout would not go even higher.

“The building of Auckland Women’s has been a disaster all by itself. In April 2003 it was originally estimated to cost $58.4 million, but the latest figures we have from the department, as at April 2006, were for a cost of $158 million.

“That is outrageous, and means each bed has cost the taxpayer an incredible $552,450. Compare that with the median house price in Auckland of $400,000.

“And when you realise that landscaping at Auckland Women’s alone cost $2 million, you can see how things have got out of control.

“The State Services Commission is reviewing the construction costs of Springhill and Otago prisons, but on these figures I would have thought Auckland Women’s should have been included in that review.

“Rather than this prison being opened with all sorts of fanfare by the Prime Minister, the Government should be hanging its head in shame at the massive cost overruns.

“It’s not as though they didn’t know about the overruns.

“According to a brief from the department to the Minister’s office less than three months ago, one of the issues that could arise during an announcement on the projects was ‘the fact that the escalation is only now being signalled when the extreme market conditions have been apparent for some time’.

“They knew for a long time what was likely to happen to these budgets.”


Attachment: Department’s briefing to Minister’s office


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