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Collins' shonky figures to justify private prisons

Clayton Cosgrove
Law and Order Spokesperson
MP for Waimakariri

25 November 2009 Media Statement

Collins uses shonky figures to justify private prison ideology

Figures supplied by Corrections give the lie to Corrections Minister Judith Collins’ claim that it is cheaper to run private prisons than public equivalents, says Labour Law and Order spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

“Judith Collins uses figures that are every bit as shonky as those the Government is using to try to justify amendments to the ETS and cuts to ACC,” Clayton Cosgrove said.

“This Government has a simple philosophy when it comes to justifying its ideology --- if the figures don’t fit at first, then find figures that do, no matter where they come from.

“Ms Collins is now about to use her shonky figures to rush the Corrections (Contract Management of Prisons) Amendment Bill through under urgency. This is another example of ideology running rampant over proper analysis, and is typical of a government that does its damnedest to avoid scrutiny at all costs.”

Clayton Cosgrove said Corrections chief executive Barry Matthews confirmed to the law and order select committee today that the department had tried its hardest to determine the most equivalent cost comparison between private and public prison management in New Zealand.

“It is clear from the four separate documents provided by Corrections in the past year that the most equivalent figure is that which shows remand beds in public prisons costing $50,208, some $7000 less than the $57,280 cost per prisoner in the Auckland Central Remand Prison in the 2004-05 year, the only example we have of a private prison in New Zealand.

“Judith Collins dislikes this comparison intensely because it doesn’t suit her purposes.

“The figure she quotes compares the $57,280 to a public prison figure of $61,796, but the $61,796 is actually across the entire public prison service, not just an equivalent remand prison. Obviously, it costs much more to keep a prisoner in a maximum security prison than it does in a remand prison.

“Judith Collins is now in possession of four sets of departmental advice which all contradict her claim that private prisons are cheaper to run.”

ENDS

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