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Laughable comparison of prison 'success'

Simon Power MP National Party Law & Order Spokesman

1 September 2006

Laughable comparison of prison 'success' with LOTR

National's Law and Order Spokesman Simon Power is stunned that the Chief Executive of Corrections has compared the success of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy to the construction of four new prisons.

In the latest edition of Corrections News, Barry Matthews likens the construction of the four prisons to the simultaneous production of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, claiming that both projects 'reflect the best international practice'.

Mr Power says the comparison is laughable.

"The main thing that they have in common is that they're both in fantasy-land. "Unlike Lord of the Rings, which stuck to its budget of $350 million to make $5 billion, Corrections blew out its budget by $490 million - more like Lord of the 'Ka-ching'.

"And Peter Jackson didn't wait until 20 months after filming to figure out how much it was going to cost."

Recently Mr Power revealed the indicative costs for Spring Hill and Otago Prisons were not known until June and May this year respectively, 20 months and 17 months after earthworks began.

"Corrections can hardly claim that their use of Collaborative Working Arrangements (CWAs) for contracting out the work reflects 'best international practice', when they:

had no experience of using this method,
* were talked into it by external contractors,
* didn't provide any analysis for the decision,
* didn't establish the costs up front, which meant that incentives for contractors to save on costs were absent.

"But if I was being generous I'd have to admit there are some similarities with Lord of the Rings: Labour's attempts to spin the findings of the damning State Services Commission report rivals the special effects in the movies. "And of course, the bare-footed hobbits would certainly appreciate the under floor heating in the four prisons."


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