National is pushing ahead with its ideologically-driven plan to privatise prisons.
You know, I don’t think that the Left should argue against private prisons on the grounds that imprisonment should be a core public function, or that privatisation is just about ‘cost-cutting’. The argument against privatisation that will work, because it’s true, is that private prisons cost more.
We know that the last time Auckland Remand was privatised it didn’t save money. It cost $66,000 a year to imprison someone in Auckland remand vs $49,000 for a publicly-run equivalent. Remember, this was the Aussie private prison industry’s loss-leader!
Pro-privatisers can only vaguely claim that privatisation magically brings in new ideas that, for unexplained reasons, can’t be emulated by the public sector. The record proves them wrong. And so does common sense. You add the need for the provider to make a profit and you’ve got to increase the cost.
Any sensible economic analysis will tell the government that this is not a money saver, it’s a gift to the private prison industry, but they don’t care – they aren’t governing in the interests of New Zealand, they’re governing to give kick backs to their private sector backers.