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Prisoners give new life to old state houses

Hon Paula Bennett

Minister for Social Housing

13 October 2016

Prisoners give new life to old state houses

More than 100 state houses that would otherwise have been demolished have been given a new lease on life through a partnership between Housing New Zealand and Corrections that refurbishes the homes and also gives prisoners valuable work skills.

At Rolleston Prison in Christchurch, more than 40 houses have been restored since the ‘Second Chance’ scheme began in 2013. Another 17 are currently being refurbished and 42 have been delivered to the prison and await work.

At Spring Hill Prison in Waikato, 71 have been refurbished since 2008. Another 14 are being refurbished and three await transport to the prison for work to begin.

“These are old social houses that were destined to be knocked down because they were either in the wrong place, no longer fit for purpose or damaged in the Canterbury quakes,” Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says.

“Through this partnership the houses are moved inside the prisons, refurbished by prisoners, then re-sited elsewhere to provide a home for a family in need.

“This is a win for Housing New Zealand, Corrections and for the families in need who will live in beautifully refurbished homes. Saving houses from demolition where possible saves money and resources for taxpayers, and prisoners who are working to refurbish them learn valuable skills that will help them gain employment on release,” Mrs Bennett says.

Houses refurbished at Spring Hill Prison have been relocated to areas throughout the North Island including Auckland, Whangarei, Palmerston North and Wellington.

Houses refurbished at Rolleston have been moved throughout Greater Christchurch, where they are very welcome homes for vulnerable families.


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