$2.6m cost of Labour's prisons ideology
National Party Law & Order Spokesman
24 July 2006
$2.6m cost of Labour’s prisons ideology
The Labour Government needlessly spent $2.6 million of taxpayers’ money just so it could satisfy its ideological opposition to private prisons, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.
He is releasing information that shows Labour spent the money to switch Auckland Central Remand Prison from private to public management last year.
“Labour did not have to spend one cent on this transition process because it was not needed.
“The five-year private prison experiment was such a success that Corrections, by their own admission, copied many of the programmes when they took the prison back.
“Private management had introduced an enlightened approach to incarceration and rehabilitation. They offered better education opportunities, and had staff dedicated to behavioural assessment, physical training, sentence planning, and crime prevention.
“But when Corrections took back the prison they added another layer of management, doubled the staff-inmate ratio to keep the unions happy, cut 24-hour health services, and halved the visits that inmates are allowed.
“Treasury has consistently argued the benefits of contestability but their advice continues to fall on this Government’s deaf ears because they are ideologically opposed to private management.
“National supports private prisons, not because of some blind ideological bent, but because they have proven they can do the job while being cost-effective for the taxpayer.
“I will continue to push for a change in the law through my Corrections (Contract Managed Prisons) Amendment Bill.”
Attachment: Parliamentary question 6486
Simon Power - Parliamentary question 6486
06486 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (7 June 2006): What additional costs were associated with the transition from private to public management of Auckland Central Remand Prison, specified by cost categories and the amounts?
Hon Damien O'Connor (Minister of Corrections) replied: The attached table shows the one-off project costs associated with the transfer of management at Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) to the Public Prisons Service.
Operating Transition $000
Staff Uniforms 231
Fixtures and fittings 1,500
Project Management 95