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Extra prison beds cost nearly $1m each

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

27 July 2006

Extra prison beds cost nearly $1m each

The 500 extra beds added to the Government’s prisons building programmes cost taxpayers nearly $1 million each, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

“Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor confirmed in the House a statement he made in select committee that the $490 million blow-out in the prisons construction budget was due to the addition of about 500 beds.

“That works out at about $1 million a bed.

“That is outrageous. You could buy four reasonable three-bedroom houses for the cost of one prisoner’s bed in one of our new prisons.

“This is a further example of the incompetence shown by his department on the whole matter of the prisons construction project, and has a lot to do with the mysterious contracting arrangements used.

“These CWAs (Collaborative Working Arrangements) differ from normal contracts in that there is no guaranteed maximum cost.

“That’s why the Minister has consistently failed to provide the original target budgets for the four prisons – because it appears there weren’t any.

“When challenged on these points today in the House, Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor appeared to have little understanding of the workings of CWAs. In fact, on 14 March he referred to them in the House as ‘community work agencies’.

“It is totally inappropriate to risk so much taxpayers’ money on what appears to be an experimental method of contracting, peddled by the only “expert” in New Zealand, who has been paid nearly $1 million by Corrections.

“What disturbs me is that this may not be the end. Neither the Minister nor his officials can guarantee that the total cost of the four prisons will exceed the current estimate of $890 million.”

--

Simon Power – answers to Parliamentary questions


4226 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (20 April 2006):
What was the original target budget for construction of the Northland Regional Corrections Facility and when was it established?
Hon Damien O'Connor (Minister of Corrections) replied: Cabinet approved a total budget for the project of $132.803 million in December 2002.


4227 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (20 April 2006):
What was the original target budget for construction of the Auckland Women's Regional Corrections Facility and when was it established?
Hon Damien O'Connor (Minister of Corrections) replied: The final target budget for the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility was established in late 2005 at $158.8 million.


4228 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (20 April 2006):
What was the original target budget for construction of the Spring Hill Regional Corrections Facility and when was it established?
Hon Damien O'Connor (Minister of Corrections) replied: The final target budget for the Spring Hill Corrections Facility was established in late 2005 at $380.3 million.


4229 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister of Corrections (20 April 2006):
What was the original target budget for construction of the Otago Regional Corrections Facility and when was it established?
Hon Damien O'Connor (Minister of Corrections) replied: The final target budget for the Otago Region Corrections Facility was established in late 2005 at $217.9 million.


ENDS

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