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Prison closures used to promote privatisation agenda

PSA Media Release

22 March 2012

For Immediate Use

Prison closures used to promote privatisation agenda

The proposal to close New Plymouth and Wellington prisons while building a new private prison in Auckland is clear evidence that this government is driven by ideology rather than common sense, says the PSA, the public sector union.

“The closure of two public prisons, when the Government is handing over $900 million to Serco to build and run a new one, is a clear step towards privatising the country’s prison system,” says Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary.

“And although some changes to an ageing prison estate are clearly needed, we’re concerned about the trend towards a few large centralised prisons. Regional prisons are valuable because they keep offenders near their families, making it easier to rehabilitate and reintegrate them.

“We’re also concerned about the impact of closure on staff and their communities. The closure of New Plymouth Prison, in particular, is going to have an adverse impact on the local community.

“Eighty staff will lose their jobs and have to relocate or face redundancy at a time when there are few jobs available. The local economy will suffer,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“It seems clear the government has a privatisation agenda and will take every opportunity to pursue that regardless of facts or community wishes. In the case of privately managed prisons, for example, overseas evidence shows they are poor value for money and score badly on security and maintaining law and order.”


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