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Undisclosed ACC sum sunk into prison privatisation gamble

12 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Undisclosed ACC sum sunk into prison privatisation gamble

ACC’s involvement as one of the five members of the consortium that has won the contract to build a private prison in Wiri is completely inappropriate, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Charles Chauvel says.

“ACC was created to ensure that New Zealanders could access affordable rehabilitation services. To see it investing in a private prison project which is opposed by most New Zealanders is, quite simply, bizarre.

“It also raises questions around the safety of the investment. Serco is already operating Mt Eden Prison on a contract basis. It is repeatedly failing to meet its performance targets.

“There is no reason to think that the Wiri operation will be any more successful, given the sausage factory imperatives of the private prison business model.

“National has consistently refused to make the terms of the Wiri prison contract public, despite taxpayer money being involved. It is reputed to be of a 25 to 30 year duration, and to be worth some $1 billion.

“Judith Collins, asked in the House today whether she or her predecessor, Nick Smith, had been consulted about the decision by ACC to invest in building and operating a private prison, and whether she had concerns about the investment, admitted Dr Smith had been briefed about the investment.

“It is a shame that he did not invite ACC to reflect on whether it was an appropriate destination for investment of the Corporation’s funds.

“It is even more of a shame that Judith Collins has failed to send a similar signal since she became the Minister,” Charles Chauvel said

ends

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