Prisons and hospitals – the sort of thing that only the US thinks should be in private hands – oh, and apparently National. They obviously like America’s economic position and are desperate to copy it.
* It has been confirmed that there is to be a private prison at Wiri “designed, built, financed, maintained and run by the private sector.” All prisoners would remain the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections though, as they must, leaving the private prison company to be “all care, no responsibility” – no doubt with the sort of record that that philosophy usually results in.
The Government apparently expects that a private prison, run with a fat profit on the side, will somehow be cheaper than one run by the state. The only way that the prison could be run cheaper is if they reduce prison officers’ pay and conditions or the “safe” number of prison officers per prisoner – another way for National to screw the workers. Will they convince current prison officers to work under such conditions, or get a new lot who are less experienced and qualified and don’t know better?
And where will the money for this new prison go? Overseas. Ms Collins says: “Only consortia with experienced and reputable builders and prison operators will be considered.” As there are no experienced prison builders and operators in New Zealand, that’ll be foreign companies coming in and taking our taxpayer dollars. Thanks.
* Also in South Auckland major hospital services are to be contracted out, eroding the capacity of public hospitals. Tony Ryall, picking up the baton from Judith Collins is keen for Counties-Manukau to no longer provide services for prostate cancer, kidney stones and urinary tract infections. The Board seem less keen:
“Our preferred position will be to have our own urology service in concert with ADHB to service the needs of the whole region.”
The senior doctors union is concerned, saying that National’s promise to add 20 elective surgery theatres nationally was about building public capacity. “This seems to be going in the other direction.”
The Greens say this will “erode the public sector’s ability to provide … services” and encourage the migration of specialist doctors from the public sector to the private.
But National will continue to pursue their privatisation agenda…
Update: Tony Ryall pushes Auckland District Health Board chief out to put in people who will further his agenda…