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Govt must rule out Serco of new prison

The Green Party is calling on the Government to rule out using Serco for their next public private-partnership (PPP) prison given its atrocious track record in New Zealand.

The Government has just announced that the building of a 1,500 bed prison at Waikeria will be a PPP. This comes after their announcement last month of spending an additional $1 billion to house the growing prison population.

“The most well-known prison PPP in New Zealand is with Serco, which has been disastrous. I am calling on Minister Collins to rule them out of the negotiations as a first step,” Green Party justice spokesperson David Clendon said today.

“Given the multiple fiascos surrounding privately run prisons, like the fight clubs at Serco-run Mt Eden, it’s concerning that the Minister has announced so gleefully that they want another private company to be involved in this new prison.

“I am worried that the Minister is going to just award another huge contract to the disastrous Serco, or another private company that will put profit before the safety of staff and prisoners.

“It’s shocking that the Government is unashamedly spending a billion dollars on new prisons rather than investing that money where we know it will make a real difference to New Zealanders: mental health, housing, social services, and rehabilitation.

“$1 billion would go a long way if it was spent to address the reasons why increasing numbers of Kiwis are being put in prison. The Government has its priorities all wrong,” said Mr Clendon.