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Cabinet Considering Private Prisons Legislation Today - PM

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, March 9 NZPA - The Government is to make a decision today on legislation to allow private companies to run prisons, Prime Minister John Key said this morning.

"Cabinet is considering that measure today," Mr Key said on TVNZ's Breakfast programme.

"It's important to understand I believe the bulk of prisons will be run by the Corrections Service but we see no particular reason why the private sector couldn't run one."

Mr Key was responding to a New Zealand Herald story about the intended legislation which would allow private companies to run existing prisons and not just new ones.

Mr Key said the Auckland Central Remand Prison, run by The Geo Group for five years after the last National-led Government allowed private operators to run new prisons, was a "great example of a success story". The company's contract was not renewed when Labour was in Government because it disagreed with the private sector running prisons.

Mr Key said legislation was likely to be introduced this week.

The Corrections Department has suffered a string of scandals and the latest problems in parole have seen Minister Judith Collins refuse to express confidence in department chief executive Barry Matthews.

National's law and order policy allowed for competitive tendering for contracts to run prisons on a "case-by-case basis". The Herald also reported that Ms Collins was to meet Australian-based representatives from the Geo Group -- a United States company that also runs "correctional facilities" in Canada, Britain and South Africa.

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