Smaller Waikeria prison upgrade plus mental health facility

The Government has announced that it will build a far smaller (500 bed) replacement high security prison at Waikeria than what the previous Government had proposed, plus a special purpose 100 bed mental health facility.

The only problem with the later may be that it is too small.

With the former being substantially scaled down there will be increased pressure on the Government on how to deal with the quickly expanding prison population.

Media statement from Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis:

• 500 bed high security prison to be constructed at Waikeria

• First-of-its-kind 100 bed mental health facility

• Completion due by early 2022

The Government will build a world-leading high security replacement prison at Waikeria, setting a new direction for Corrections in New Zealand while ditching the American-style mega prison planned by the previous National Government, Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis announced today.

The prison will include a first-of-its-kind in New Zealand mental health facility to address the high rate of mental health issues prevalent in the prison population.

“Today sets a new direction for prisons in New Zealand, putting public safety first while delivering real rehabilitation and mental health support to reduce reoffending,” said Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis at the site of the new prison at Waikeria.

The new high-security prison, to be delivered by early 2022, will accommodate 500 prisoners, with the ability to provide mental health treatment for a further 100 offenders.

“New Zealand is safer when the most violent offenders are locked away, but prison is also a place where offenders should be rehabilitated, not trained by other prisoners to become more hardened criminals.

“This strikes the right balance between showing hardened criminals the consequences of their actions, and providing a new facility that can work to rehabilitate prisoners and reduce our appalling rate of re-offending.

“The new mental health facility will service urgent need within our prison system. 62 per cent of prisoners have been diagnosed with a mental health or substance abuse disorder in the last twelve months. We currently do very little to help turn these people’s lives around.

“National’s plan to build a mega prison for up to 2,000 prisoners at Waikeria was a clear sign it had given up. They are expensive and ineffective, becoming super-sized factories that just turn low level criminals into hardened criminals.

“This will be one of New Zealand’s smallest prisons. We know smaller prisons make rehabilitation more likely, are closer to communities and link better to local work programmes.

“Prisons shouldn’t be resorts and offenders must face consequences, but we can’t expect prisoners to turn their lives around and walk out the doors ready to be better people if we lock them away in a breeding ground for crime.

“Today’s decision draws a line under New Zealand’s failed prison policy and sets us on a new path towards better prisons, that make our communities safer,” said Kelvin Davis.

Odd that this was available via Scoop but not from the Beehive website.


  1. chrism56

     /  June 13, 2018

    Maybe the government don’t want to talk about it because it is going to be a PPP. Didn’t Labour rail against privatization of the prison service when they were in opposition? Is this another backdown or just being hypocrites?

  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  June 13, 2018

    2000 isn’t enough…I know, let’s build 500 more !

  3. PartisanZ

     /  June 13, 2018

    Spot the idiot? … The caption of a photograph of said Minister in the NZHeraldo article linked below …

    “National’s Corrections spokesman David Bennett says the Government’s new unit at Waikeria prison will put members of the public at risk as there will be less beds to house criminals.”

    That’s Opposition cred for ya!

    • PartisanZ

       /  June 13, 2018

      OMG … It’s gets worse … Bennett also said:

      “A vast majority of prisoners have mental health issues and so just picking out 100 of them that are the more severe cases doesn’t actually provide the rehabilitation we need for a vast majority of prisoners.”


      • PartisanZ

         /  June 13, 2018

        Let’s apply that across the board in things like education and sport … Shall we?

        Forget about the under-achievers and under-performers … No remedial reading … No extra help …

        Forget about the exceptional cases too …. No scholarships … No High Performance Academies!

        The government can save millions! Billions!

        • Corky

           /  June 13, 2018

          It’s all academic now, Parti. Bennett will have to put up after the 2020 election.

          • PartisanZ

             /  June 13, 2018

            No … He’ll have to ‘show up’ after 2020 or 2023 …

            But how can a human vacuum “show up”?

      • Blazer

         /  June 13, 2018

        that Bennett is as bad as the other Bennett….can imagine him cast as a Gestapo agent.

  4. PartisanZ

     /  June 13, 2018

    I’m astounded! Those statements are not like just idiocy or low intelligence … They’re like the complete absence of any intelligence whatsoever or any thought at all … Like … the utterances of a human vacuum ….

    • phantom snowflake

       /  June 13, 2018

      Those cast in the role of “Opposition” are merely acting out their ascribed part in this Westminster Tragicomedy…

      • PartisanZ

         /  June 14, 2018

        Aye Snowflake, the Fallstaffs, Clotens, Dogberries and Festes of our Winter of Discontent …

        • PartisanZ

           /  June 14, 2018

          Westminster’s ‘gravediggers’ ….. ex Hamlet …

  5. Blazer

     /  June 14, 2018

    as its supposed to cost around 100k per annum to incarcerate someone,any expenditure less than that to keep them out of prison is a worthwhile…one.

    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  June 14, 2018

      Ah no actually Blazer… your equation only makes sense if they don’t re-offend.

      If they re-offend there are bunch of external costs that you haven’t included in your calculation: the costs in terms of damage to victims, victims families, to victims property…

      “The prison population comprises the following by offence category

      Category 1 (infringements and fines) – zero
      Category 2 (term of imprisonment of less than two years) – 224 (2.1%)
      Category 3 (term of imprisonment of more than two years) – 9,698 (91.0%)
      Category 4 – (murder, manslaughter, treason, piracy, slavery, public corruption) 738 (6.9%)”
      Source: Kiwiblog –

      I should think 100k p.a. keeping the 738 in Cat 4 ,locked up is a damn good investment personally and probably a number in the Cat 3 as well deserve to stay away for quite awhile…

      And yes, I tend to agree with you that white collar ripoff merchants like any number of failed Finance Company Managers/Owners deserve long terms in the pokey and confiscation of their assets – even those assets shielded by Trusts in the wife or kids names…

  6. Zedd

     /  June 14, 2018

    I tautoko this Govts. efforts to reduce the prison muster. ‘If they build more prisons, they will be filled.. then you need to build more’ just an endless, outdated Rhetoric (from the Right)

    BUT methinks that, if it is indeed true, that about 50% of inmates have mental health & addiction issues, then perhaps they need to turn half of the current prisons into ‘mental health & drug addiction/treatment facilities’ ?!

    btw; another 10 Drug treatment beds at ‘Akld City Mission’ (as announced) does not cut it. That just ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ stuff (IMHO) :/

    • Zedd

       /  June 14, 2018

      They also need to remove all the stigma from ‘Illegal DRUG addiction’ (that often stops many seeking help/treatment) it is no different to Alcohol & Tobacco addiction & should be treated as such. “the Law is an ASS !”