A new prison at Wiri will be designed, built, financed, maintained and run by the private sector.
Infrastructure Minister Bill English and Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced that a public-private partnership for the prison has been given the thumbs up. In recent months officials had met potential bidders and now the Corrections Dept are requesting expressions of interest.
The current National lead government have made it clear that they want greater engagement and use of private sector expertise and they see this opportunity as beneficial across the wider prison network. The Government expected a privately-run prison would be cheaper than a State run one.
Ms Collins said the new prison would ensure there were enough beds to cope with the future prison population. An additional 1243 prison beds are forecast to be needed by 2016 to cope with forecast growth in prisoner numbers and the need to replace ageing existing prisons.
Successful operator will be required to deliver innovative rehabilitation and reintegration services. It will also be critical that they can meet the needs of Māori and provide effective Māori-specific services.
All prisoners would remain the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections.