Corrections Minister Judith Collins has slammed the “extravagance” of the previous Government’s prison building programme and is looking at using pre-fabricated modular units to slash construction costs by more than half.
She said new jails – which will be required to accommodate the boost in inmate numbers flowing from National’s tougher stance on sentencing and parole – would be “functional, humane and safe” but not “luxurious”.
As an example of Labour’s extravagant spending, she cited the $380 million Spring Hill Corrections Facility in the Waikato which worked out at around $660,000 per cell to build once all costs were taken into account.
“You can buy two houses for that. You’ve got to do better than that.
“There has been a lack of accountability because there has been too much money. We don’t have the luxury of taxes rolling in.”
Ms Collins said she had asked her officials to present her with ideas on prison construction which had been rejected by the previous Government. They had presented her with a modular design used in Australia which, including infrastructure and other construction costs, worked out at around $300,000 a cell.
If they are good enough for Australia, they should be good enough for us!