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The privatisation push

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 pm, April 14th, 2010 - 99 comments
Categories: class war, privatisation - Tags:

National has announced the location for its first private prison on the same day we find out that they want their working group to look at privatising welfare.

Frankly neither of these moves have provided any real gains elsewhere in the world and both have led to some dreadful social outcomes from kickbacks to American judges for stocking private prisons with kids to one in five Canadians who lose their jobs being denied the income insurance they paid for.

Private prisons were signaled by National but privatising welfare was not. However in both cases the victims will be a segment of society that this government and its supporters have actively vilified and the ones with the most to gain will be overseas corporations.

As with their tax policy this is about making the rich richer at the expense of our most vulnerable.

99 comments on “The privatisation push ”

  1. Jared 1

    What makes you think it will just be like the American horror stories? its worked in NZ before, infact it was very successful. Clutching at straws? Hell, even Greg Newbold thinks they are a good idea

    • “Hell, even Greg Newbold thinks they are a good idea”

      Well, Newbold was a free marketeer in its most brutal form in his earlier career, so it could hardly be a surprise he’s in favour. It hasn’t worked in NZ before, by the way. It hasn’t been tried here yet. The previous failure was a privately run remand centre, not a prison.

      • Jared 1.1.1

        Interesting semantics. Ok, it hasn’t been tried with a prison here, but the remand centre was highly successful. The proof is in the pudding though, and considering how transparent our judiciary is, I don’t suspect we will have problems with judges being bribed, not that it couldn’t happen. It be more concerned about Guards being intimidated, but thats a universal problem prevalent in private and public prisons.

        • It’s not semantics, Jared. Remand centres hold people who are accused, but not convicted, of crimes. A far more controllable population than actual convicted criminals. And even then, it was more expensive to run. Further, the point of prisons, ultimately, is rehabilitation, not cost. So why is cost is the determining factor here?

        • Sam 1.1.1.2

          Mate, stay on the topic and read the research. Private prisons are more expensive and less effective at reducing recidivism, primarily because they are generally more brutal. In any event, why the hell should some ticket clipping private company get kick backs from the ills of our society?

        • illuminatedtiger 1.1.1.3

          Highly successful? Pffft…At a cost of 7000 dollars more per head to the tax payer at the time.

    • Michael Foxglove 1.2

      First of all Jared, it was a remand centre, not a high security jail.

      Second, the cost of a bed at the Auckland Private Remand Centre to the taxpayer was $57k per annum. Compared with the average of a public remand centre, which was $50k per annum.

      A bed at a public centre was $7k cheaper. Unfortunately this government is blinded by ideology.

      • Jared 1.2.1

        Im not saying you are wrong, but could you post up where you got the costings for the private and public remand centre?

        • Jared 1.2.1.1

          Interesting Michael, The Dominion Post seems to think it costs $42,000 per bed compared to $52,000 in a public facility. Whos right?
          “It cost $42,000 per inmate to run the Auckland remand centre when it was headed by Australian Correctional Management, compared to an average of $52,000 in a Corrections Department facility. The Auckland jail contract included a $50,000 fine for each escape.”
          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/1401654

          • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2.1.1.1

            Note the use of the word ‘average’ . Thats is the cost of the lowest risk proportion of the prison population that is remand compared with the ‘average’ over the system which includes high security and the expensive inhouse rehab facities.
            The reason why they arent saying it was cheaper for like for like because it wasnt.

          • lprent 1.2.1.1.2

            Jared: What is the average for remand prisons?

            You (and that systemic liar Collins feeding the domPost) are comparing apples with oranges.

            • Jared 1.2.1.1.2.1

              Firstly, what Michael Foxglove asserted was incorrect. Note he hasn’t even provided a source. From the DomPost piece it was noted that it was $8000 cheaper for a private bed in the Mt Eden Remand Centre than in a Public Centre, so the assertion that it is more expensive was incorrect.
              Secondly, yes you are correct in saying they are different situations, something I noted earlier. Id be interested to see costings though, if it was cheaper under the Private system for a Remand Centre, id say chances are it would be cheaper for a Prison as well. But time will tell. Simply going around saying people are wrong with false evidence is pretty bad practice though.

              • fraser

                well it was an assertion put to judith collins this morning on nat rad – and she didnt refute it.

                so while not evidence – it would seem strange that she wouldnt correct the claim if it was wrong

  2. outofbed 2

    privitisation?

  3. Smokie 3

    If anyone was in any doubt that the Key Government would be a continuation of Richardson-Shipley Government, lay your doubts to rest here.

    Privatisation of welfare and the prison system were all part of the free market putsch of the 90s. The world may have moved on, but National hasn’t. The country and its people will be all the worse for it.

    (Has anybody seen the opposition on this? I can’t even remember the last time I saw Labour’s leader on the telly)

    • felix 3.1

      Labour has a leader? We have an opposition? Well fuck me.

    • Sam 3.2

      Saw Goff get a brief chance to comment in what looks like an airport in a segment that looks very trimmed on TV3 earlier tonight. When the media stop being fucking partisan morons perhaps you can be more scathing of Goff.

  4. Jared 4

    What is your opposition to privately run prisons if they provide an equivalent level of service at a more appealing price? If there are issues around how the private prisons are run lets wait until they happen, rather than pre empting them. Even though it was just a remand centre, the Mt Eden example was highly successful and I see no reason why it couldn’t be continued.

    • Michael Foxglove 4.1

      “What is your opposition to privately run prisons if they provide an equivalent level of service at a more appealing price?”

      The private centre was actually more expensive per prisoner bed. See my comment above.

      • IrishBill 4.1.1

        Not only that, it was a effectively a trial of privatisation in corrections. There was an unusually strong incentive to avoid the problems usually associated with privately run units.

      • jimminy 4.1.2

        Also it is morally repugnant for our justice system to be run as a private enterprise.

        Somethings should not be privately run, and prisons come near the front of that list.

        How on earth do you grow your business? It only grows if you increase the misery in society.

        you’d hope New Zealanders find their souls and are aghast at this and the other proposals mushrooming out of the governments brains trust…

        • Armchair Critic 4.1.2.1

          “Also it is morally repugnant for our justice system to be run as a private enterprise”
          Too right. This over-rides all the other arguments against private prisons. Forget debating the supposed economic justification, it is the Crown’s perogative to hold people as prisoners. Anyone else doing this is just a kidnapper.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      What is your opposition to privately run prisons if they provide an equivalent level of service at a more appealing price?

      They don’t though. Experience has shown us that privatisation costs more and delivers less.

  5. John A 5

    Thanks outofbed. I just got up.

  6. Olwyn 6

    With regard to prisons, it is the state that has the role of punishment, not private enterprise. As to the rest, this government seems overly keen to put whatever it can beyond the reach of democracy. The attempts at establishing private employment insurance may not be successful, since we pay people bugger all and even with tax cuts people may not be able to afford it in sufficient numbers. And if the US is anything to go by,the last thing we need is private insurance companies with real weight to throw around – look at the struggle Obama had getting modest health reforms passed.

  7. Marty G 7

    English has said that a PPP will have to beat the public cost by 10-20% for them to be interested. Seems fair enough, eh? But we know from overseas what happens. Private corporations bid low then under-deliver and over-charge. The experience around the world has been worse outcomes for more money.

    And the corps know that the government will always bail them out. Just like Fay Richwhite and Toll knew that they could run the rail system into the ground while creaming off super-profits, safe in the knowledge that the government couldn’t let a major piece of infrastructure collapse (what people forget is that rail, like roads, brings major benefits to the economy, not just the owner) and the govt would eventually step in and buy them out.

    The same thing will happen with prisons. The corps will run them into the ground until the government has to pay through the nose to take them over and get them running properly again.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      It would seem to me that the contracts should be written such that if the government is required to buy them out because they weren’t offering the proper services, then the government only has to pay 1/2 the market value for the asset at the time – that should be sufficient incentive for them to do a proper job. I guess that sort of idealism/rationality doesn’t work in the real world, for one reason or another, though.

      • nzfp 7.1.1

        Hey Lanthanide you said “contracts should be written such that if the government is required to buy them out because they weren’t offering the proper service” and I agree completely. However we need to remember who is representing the government in the contract negotiations and we need to understand their relationship with the counter parties. Ideally the government should not be privatising natural monopolies or state services.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      The corps will run them into the ground until the government has to pay through the nose to take them over and get them running properly again.

      Which makes the corps even more money at our expense.

  8. Rob M 8

    Even making the silly assumption that a private operator has the equivalent buying power of the State, where is the margin? Presumably they’ll round up a gang of underemployed thugs to staff the place and save money that way. That said, given the extra 7K per bed cost of the private Auckland Remand Centre, it would appear the only margin is a State subsidy. Hooray another victory for the free market.

  9. Not impressed with the idea of unemployment insurance. Isn’t that one of the reasons why taxpayers pay tax in the first place? So the state pays for an employment rainy day?

    Simply a continuation of the terrible self-serving user pays mentality. So many little things that used to be covered via general taxation are increasingly being converted to user pays, e.g. car licensing, school fees. Its no wonder low-middle income families have trouble with their budgets when their budgets are continually blown by these irregular but necessary bills. When did voters ever say that this what they wanted?

    Just put up PAYE 2% across the board and remove the stupid charges (except perhaps a nominal amount like $10).

  10. jimminy 10

    captcha: LIBRARYS- another place that shouldn’t charge for books or allow f$^ coffee shops to run their trade inside their walls, and use the councils legitimacy to boost their brand.

    has anyone done any chasing recently on Wackenhut and the sensible sentencing trust?

  11. Steve 11

    We are still being sold the lie that the private sector will always be cheaper and better because it is competitive. What this rather simplistic argument ignores is that the private sector will always incur an extra cost overhead – namely profit back to it’s shareholders. Badly run private enterprises will always be more expensive to the tax payer than badly run state owned enterprises and well run private enterprises will always be more expensive to the tax payer than well run state emterprises. A well run state owned prison service looks good to me.

  12. BLiP 12

    Once again, a flurry of bad news delivered while John Key is overseas . . . anyone see a pattern here?

    • Peter Johns 12.1

      Yep – JK is good at organising world meetings to suit his needs. He organised the Nukes convention in Jan 2010 to co-incide with the prison announcements. Smart guy.

      News is good in NZ, economy looking up, jobs on the way, did not borrow too much & prisoners are going to live it harder instead of the current Hiltons they currently reside at for zero rent. Only you lefty dorks see the negative, maybe you should Foxtrot Oscar to Australia to increase the average IQ of both countries. I am sure policy wonks & public servants over there earn more. Dole is higher as well I hear.

      • Cnr Joe 12.1.1

        Peter Johns,you come across as quite actively foul, so pleased yr appear so happy with yr choices but one can’t ignore the sense of personal misery that seeps through yr bile..
        or should you be ignored? as you probably have all yr life..

      • Mutante 12.1.2

        Pish and posh Peter Johns.

        Have you ever visited someone in jail?

        I visited a mate of mine in the meat locker some years ago and it was far from the Hilton. It definitely didn’t make me go “Awesome! Wow, I really want to go to jail too.”

        Go phone Michael Laws.

    • I was just thinking the same thing. LOL

  13. Hilary 13

    We don’t need any more prisons. They are very expensive and not the answer to anything.

    • Peter Johns 13.1

      Shoot the bastards instead, the best solution.
      Where do I line up for the job opportunity? Would love to hang a rapist or murderer.

      • Mutante 13.1.1

        Shoot them and hang them?

        In what order Peter Johns?

        I’m rather intrigued. Also, what’s your position on the Iron Maiden? Do you think it is time for the Pear of Anguish?

  14. Andy B 14

    If you’re against National’s lunacy with privatisation, join this facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/New-Zealanders-Against-Privatisation/111074692257475?ref=ts) to show your opposition. If we get enough members, maybe we can show the Government what New Zealanders really think of their plan.

    Captcha: Saving. Yup. We need to save our public sector!

    • Andy B 14.1

      Oops. The whole link isn’t a link. You’ll need to select that whole link or click on my name and it should go there.

  15. Peter Johns 15

    Put a fence around South Auckland. Privatise the garding of this. It is a 3rd world shithole manufactured by so called progressive governments over the years. It is a social welfare hotbed as the blacks cannot be stuffed doing their bit for NZ. All they do is breed & bludge.

    • Marty G 15.1

      We don’t mind you making a dick of yourself with your moronic views but the racism crosses the line. Final warning, next time two weeks banned.

    • pollywog 15.2

      Whoa there pilgrim. What bit for NZ should us “blacks” be stuffed doing ? I mean, if we don’t do the shit jobs for fuck all money who else is gonna ?

    • the sprout 15.3

      Good one PG – ‘put them on an island’.
      You should experiement with thinking about things rather than just citing talkback cliches.

    • nzfp 15.4

      Aue,
      Tena ra koe e Pita,
      Kaore au e whakaae ki tou whakaaro. He mangu te tae o taku kiri. I tipu ake au i te tonga o Akarana (Tamaki-Makau-Rau). Ahakoa no Akarana-ki-te-tonga ahau, ka nui tonu taku aroha mo te whenua nei (Aotearoa). Kaore e hoa, kaore au e whakae ki to whakaaro kino. Ehara tou whakaaro i te whakaaro o te nuinga o nga iwi katoa (ahakoa no whea ratou, he Pakeha, he Maori, te mea te mea…) o Aotearoa.

      kia ora e Pita
      Noho ora mai ra

    • HitchensFan 15.5

      OMG that is possibly the most disgusting thing I’ve read on a blog. Peter Johns you deserve to be on Kiwiblog not on here. Did you really just say that? I am gobsmacked.

  16. Peter Johns 16

    South Auckland is the best place for the prison. All the crimnals live there so their rellys can visit every day. Close Parry down as all of the visitors are from South Auckland anyway. Turn the Old (soon to be anyway) Manukau City Council Building into a high secruity prison, just across the road from the Court House on Wiri Stn Rd anyway. Saves Carbon transporting them.

    Phil Field will be with his old constituents.

    • nzfp 16.1

      E ai ki a Pita Hone “All the crimnals live there so their rellys can visit every day”. Engari, ko wai ma enei “criminals”

      The Securities Commission has today issued civil proceedings against Lombard Finance directors including former National cabinet minister Sir Doug Graham and former Labour minister Bill Jefferies.

      The company went into receivership in April 2008 owing approximately $127 million to some 4,400 investors.

      na: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/business/latest-business/3577306/Lombard-prosecutions

      Aue e Pita $127 Million? Kei te noho tonu ratou “[ko Ta] Doug Graham , [ko] Michael Reeves, [ko] William Jefferies [ko] Lawrence Bryant” ki te tonga o Tamaki-Makau-Rau?

  17. Draco T Bastard 17

    Privatisation being cheaper in a myth. No matter how much competition there is it still costs to supply the service. It costs for the people who work to go to work, its costs to feed and house those people, it costs to build and supply the prisons and it costs to train the prison guards. These costs cannot be reduced with competition simply because they aren’t affected by the amount of competition in the correctional market. Privatisation then adds to those costs by adding the dead weight loss of profit.

    This applies to every single government service so what NACT+MP are doing is making government cost even more for the same, and probably less as the private businesses cut costs, service.

  18. tsmithfield 18

    I am a little disappointed with the quality of some of the posts on this topic.

    For a start, I see a constant parroting that the previous private correctional facility was more expensive to run. However, I have seen no link to support this assertion. Neither have I seen a rational answer to Jared who actually did post a link that showed the exact opposite: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/1401654

    So far as the public/private prison debate is concerned, it seems that the research provides mixed results as per the research reports from America as published by their own Bureau of Prisons:

    http://www.bop.gov/news/research_reports.jsp#public

    From a philisophical standpoint it seems to me that keeping prisons as soley public facilities is akin to having a monopoly on prisons. Monopolies are inevitably more expensive in most areas. So, to bring in some private “competitors” should have the effect of driving costs down across the board through greater efficiencies etc. Consequently, the savings might not be achieved only from the private prisons, but from reductions in costs for running both private and public prisons.

    English said on the news last night that the government that there were savings to be made over a 30 year period. So, it is an error to suggest it is expected there will be immediate savings from the initiative.

    I see that savings can come by using profit motivations as drivers to get the desired outcomes. For instance, if private prisons receive bonuses based on reduction in recidivism compared to public prisons then they will be motivated to provide effective programs to achieve these objectives. Despite what some of you seem to think, profit is not the mother of all evils, but can be a carrot that encourages improvement in the desired areas.

    • I suspect it’s not apples with apples, TS. A remand centre is not a prison, therefore the costs are likely to be different. The Corrections union has made the claim that when it was in private hands it cost 7k per prisoner (on a yearly basis) more than when the state ran it. You’d think it would have to be that way, otherwise there would be no profit for the provider.

      • Lew 18.1.1

        TVOR, in fact, Collins has in the past been snapped comparing the per-bed cost of the private remand prison with the per-bed cost of all public prisons — almost all of which are more secure and more expensive to run than a remand prison by their nature.

        L

    • Matt 18.2

      TS you are mixing things up – a prison is a natural monopoly and it is not run for a profit, it is run for a public good and so competition is unlikley to make much change to the cost structures of running a prison.

      • Matt 18.2.1

        Also – isn’t our political system underpinned by the idea that the state has a collective responsibility to retain the monopoly on coersion? Surely imprisoning someone for breaking the law is a manifestation of this monopoly on coersion? If so bringing competition into this does in a small way break this monopoly and could, over time, lead to further erosion of this and potentially reduce our security as a society. Private prisons in the US haven’t done anything to increase their society’s security.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 18.3

      So you too have been conned by the word ‘average’.
      No rehab, no high security, no prison work programs.

      Surprising how so many are suckers for bullshit from Collins

    • Andy B 18.4

      Two things TS, New Zealand is too small and has too few prisons to actually make the industry competitive. Even competition between the state and the private sector will be false competition as the state is paying the private company which will charge the same (if not more) per prisoner as the state currently pays. There is no motivation to drive down your cost when your only competition is the organisation that pays you. For there to be true competition we would probably need more three prison companies – however at what cost is that competition at? Prisoners shouldn’t be subjected to degrading and substandard care and/or treatment because of a company’s profit. “Efficiencies” – i.e. cutting corners, which, as we have seen overseas, may lead to greater recidivism. Prisoners are still people who deserve to be treated fairly and justly, even if they did do something wrong. Also cutting corners screams of escaping prisoners, underpaid, overworked staff and lax security (because of “efficiencies”) – which could cause more problems than is necessary.

      In fact, the motivation of private prisons is to make profit (as I’m sure that everyone will agree), therefore it would be in the best interests of the prison companies to have as many people in prison as possible. This would likely mean completely ineffective rehabilitation (it would likely be token as they would be required to run rehabilitation programmes) because getting recidivism rates down would cause a loss in profits. This is a recipe for causing more social harm in our society.

      Also, as we fragment the nature of our prison system, each company has less purchasing power than the state (or one company that controls all prisons). This may seem like a small issue, but it is an important way of lowering costs.

      If I was going to prison (which I hope to never do!), I would not want to be in a privately run facility because the accountability of a private company is so much less than the public sector. I elect the government to look after prisons and if they don’t perform they are much more accountable than a private company.

      I’d be skeptical about the report from the bureau of prisons – after all they want to show the prisons in the best light as it is their job. Are there any other reports? Like the independent one that was in an article in this morning’s herald about how privately run prisons are worse for prisoners, more expensive etc.

  19. Jenny 19

    Private prisons cheaper?

    Simple logic tells me that can’t be true.

    The government builds a prison and pays the wages of the guards who run it.

    Or the government pays a middleman to build a prison and pay the guards who run it.

    Where possibly could the savings be?

    The middleman takes his cut on top, in the form of profits. This is an added cost.

    Where do the savings come from?

    We are told that private businesses are more efficient.

    But more efficient at what?

    Making money?

    • Bored 19.1

      You ask the right questions Jenny….which brings us to the last one money based question.

      What is the morality of making money out of incarceration?

  20. Jenny 20

    Efficiency, How does that work?

    Chopping up meat with a cleaver is efficient, using a mincer is even more efficient.

    The saving is in the cost of labour.

    The same with private prisons.

    Casual low paid Security Guards are cheaper than Police, why not make all the police redundant and replace them with security guards?

    In fact, this is exactly what happens when a public service is privatised.

    In the railways, in Telecom, in the Power Boards. The first thing that was done when these public services were being turned into private businesses, was to make all their workforces redundant and replace or rehire them as casuals with lesser pay.

    The result was that the workforces doing the actual work were always shrunken in number, with lesser skill and motivation, so the service the public got was always worse.

    The difference with prisons, is that no body cares about criminals, this is where my metaphore about the meat grinder at the start of this essay comes in.

  21. Craig GlenEden 21

    Collins also made the point on TV1 that the current prison service is doing a good job and she rejected the idea that they are wasting money. That being the case why the need for a private prison.

    If re-incarceration rates are higher from private prisons the cost to the tax payer is going to be greater because we will need to build more prisons. A prison has to be more than a short term cheap place to lock people up in surely.

    As for the moral issue raised by Bored it seems pretty clear this lot have no morals when it comes to profit. Watch who is the successful tender for this little rort and all will become clear I think.

  22. Philopastry 22

    In privatising prisons, you will create the opportunity for investors to invest in incarceration. And, in order for the investment to pay off, the prison needs to be ‘successful’ ie. full of prisoners.

    Police – “ok there bud, that’s your 3rd STRIKE, you’re off to prison”
    Private investor – “cha ching”

  23. Quoth the Raven 23

    In what real sense is this a “private” prison? I know Rothbard would have said in an ironic sense. It’s funded by the state, guided by the state and carrying out a function of the state. We should question the justification for the latter and in the least we really should be asking whether we need a new prison at all. If we didn’t have such a punitive approach to law and order (an approach carried out with sadistic enthusiasm by the last government) and if the state didn’t enforce so many immoral laws there’d be no need for this prison and indeed no need for many of our prions.

  24. h1 24

    Brilliant!, when the likes of CACI International Inc. or perhaps Wackenhut or maybe Corrections Corporation of America run prisons for profit and the shit hits the fan over outrages like inmates for cash or even the torture of inmates then we will have arrived………….Prison Nation

  25. Here’s a great interview from last night on the folly of private prisons with Bevan Hanlon, President of the Corrections Assn.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/ckpt/2010/04/14/private_prison_to_be_built_in_south_auckland

    Turns out the ACRP experiment showed private prisons cost about $7,000 per prisoner per year MORE expensive than State run equivalents. The interview also debunks several of Collins’ lies, the headline should be “Collins: Truth Optional”.

  26. Fisiani 26

    Mention the words private or profit and the socialists here simply screw up their faces and squeal.
    Instead of such knee-jerk nay saying learn to engage brain. Sagely assess the relative merits of a simple plan to build and run a prison cheaper, employ many disadvantaged unemployed people in construction and corrections and provide a more humane and rehabilitative incarceration that is easier to visit if the family comes from South Auckland.

    Question. Are there any circumstances in which a privately operated prison is a good idea?

    If your answer is no then you are just a state knows best ideologue.

    • the sprout 26.1

      Listen to the interview above and you’ll see that private prisons are not a rational choice by any empirical or budgetary measure, irrespective of jurisprudence issues.
      It seems the move to privatization is the ideologically driven one.

      And tell me Fisiani, what incentive do private prison corporations have to ensure their customers do not return for repeat business? Do you have an answer or are you just a blind ideologue?

    • prism 26.2

      fisiani take your own advice and engage brain. Note for fisiani – place brain on shelf in clear view so can ensure finding each morning. Good luck with the search.

    • Draco T Bastard 26.3

      You and the rest of the RWNJ are the only ones who disbelieve reality and the reality is that privatisation costs more. All the logic shows this and the evidence as well.

      Question. Are there any circumstances in which a privately operated prison is a good idea?

      No

      If your answer is no then you are just a state knows best ideologue.

      And this statement of yours just shows your blind ideology and your inability to make rational decisions. Basically, it shows your delusion.

    • Quoth the Raven 26.4

      Question. Are there any circumstances in which a privately operated prison is a good idea?

      If your answer is no then you are just a state knows best ideologue.

      Then you’d call Peter Cresswell a “state knows best ideologue” where very few would.

  27. prism 27

    Bit slipped into news – schools next. What do we pay into a government for? To provide the services for the country’s needs and do so in a cost-efficient manner from the revenue received.

    How it should be conducted – government communicates with taxpayers about its understanding of what is needed, takes feedback, makes changes to make project more effective, and then gets on with the job – doesn’t wash its hands of taking responsibility and investing in the country and give the task to profit-centres.

    There is a moral hazard for pollys even without kickbacks in money, and that is when the they retire or are ousted, its the private guys they have been working with that give them directorships, consultants, well-paid jobs. They live under the Janus banner, the two-faced Roman god of doors and gateways always looking in opposite directions. Serving the people’s needs gets diluted by self interest in the future, its who you know that gets you on in the world.

  28. h1 28

    My objecting to the incarceration of people for profit has absolutely nothing to with ‘state knows best socialist ideology’ and everything to do with shareholders making money by trading in human suffering. Honestly Fisiani, I would have thought you’d be familiar with the history of prisons for profit

  29. tc 29

    Privatisation can have good outcomes if the contract has watertight conditions and punative penalties around key indicators like prisoner welfare, state of the facility, opportunities for upskilling/learning so there’s a chance the incarcerated come out wanting to stay out rather then even more pissed off with the society that locked them in there.

    This is where the rubber meets the road and done properly the taxpayer does alright because worse case the facility is handed back and the state take it back over or employ another private entity……melbourne had a private train operator hand back the keys saying sorry can’t make enough money as the contract service levels were immovable and unambiguous.

    Can anyone see the nat’s writing such a cast iron contract for their private sector buddies…..watch out for the ‘commercial in confidence’ line and no details on the PPP if it does go ahead leaving someone else to unwind the mess…….same old same old.

  30. Fabregas4 30

    What should the state run? I reckon – education, justice, welfare, health, law and order, defense. If it doesn’t do that in NZ then quite simply we stop being the country we are. Then it truly would be time to think about Aussie.

    • Quoth the Raven 30.1

      Australia already has many “private” prisons and many more students in “private” education than we do here in New Zealand.

  31. Dw 31

    No one has mentioned that the CEO of Geo, one if the largest global private prison providers statec to the nz select committee that private prisons won’t save u money. So why are we doing this again…? Oh that’s right, dumb nact ideology. Never let expertise and rationality get in the way of policy.

  32. tsmithfield 32

    I tend to agree that in of itself, simply privatising prisons won’t save money if that is all that happens.

    However, I think the prison system as a whole CAN be more cost effective as the result of including private providers in the mix. This can occur if the private and public funders are competing for funding on the basis of specified outcomes. The important ingredient here is the injection of competition. This brings about benchmarking and a drive for excellence from both sides. This is what drives progress and innovation in most other fields so I don’t see why it won’t also work with prisons.

    However, the mere co-existence of public and prisons without competition for funding is unlikely to achieve very much.

    • The Chairman 32.1

      Competitive performance incentives, innovation and new benchmarks can also be achieved through pay structures, hence removing the need for the profit driven private sector, making it the far more cost effective solution.

  33. tsmithfield 33

    Further to my post above, I have found a good reference that supports my point:

    http://www.bop.gov/news/research_projects/published_reports/pub_vs_priv/oreprcampgaes.pdf

    See the first paragraph of page 23 of this report.

  34. gnomic 34

    Probably hardly worth engaging with someone who appears to be an idiot or a troll (see Peter Johns above), perhaps even an idiotic troll, but from my observations this society depends on the work of Maori and Pacific Island people to a degree which is probably not appreciated by those who have never come in contact with certain industries. Transport/logistics and the construction and maintenance of roading are two fields that come to mind. Forestry would be another. Maybe Johns should try out for delivering gib board to building sites (most of it carried sheet by sheet over rough terrain) and see how he measures up against the PI guys who do a lot of this work.

  35. The Chairman 35

    Private prisons will lead to lobbying that will see legislation become a part of the profit-generating mechanism for correction corporations.

    Private prisons incarcerate, and like any other business, will work hard to expand their business model ensuring incarceration time and numbers increase.

    This will not only have a detrimental social affect, but the profit driven model will also cost taxpayers in the pocket.

    Moreover, the potential for corruption is real and no new safeguards have been put in place to protect the overall public interest from this new corporate threat.

    Israel has set an international precedent deeming privately run prisons are unconstitutional.
    http://tinyurl.com/ycz2n24

    Unconstitutional for Israelis but good enough for Kiwis?

    Private correction operators are not doing this to help. This is business; hence it’s all about the bottom line. It’s another private sector trying to get their hands on public money.

  36. Quoth the Raven 36

    Private prisons will lead to lobbying that will see legislation become a part of the profit-generating mechanism for correction corporations.

    Private prisons incarcerate, and like any other business, will work hard to expand their business model ensuring incarceration time and numbers increase.

    Labour and National have been doing that quite well on their own. National’s three strikes and various new petty crimes they’ve introduced Labour’s increased sentencing, more denied bail and parole.

    • The Chairman 36.1

      “Labour and National have been doing that quite well on their own’

      Indeed. However, just imagine how the fiscal incentive will now add to the process. Taxpayers will see more of the tax take going to corrections rather than health, education, etc…

      Moreover, where did the support for the Three Strikes legislation initiate?

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