Let’s go back to 2009 and remind people what was said about Private Prisons to the Select Committee

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For those of us who have been fighting private prisons before it became fashionable, the sudden attention on Serco is a great relief that many of the criticisms against privatising prisons have been realised, but there needs further attention.

Allow me to cast our collective minds back to 2009 because what the Private Prison companies were telling our select committee back then utterly destroy the claims the Government are attempting to make now.

Let’s look at cost. The Government says this will experiment in privatisation will be cheaper, but what did the head of GEO, a Private Prison contractor tell the 2009 Select Committee…

GEO Group Australia managing director Pieter Bezuidenhout said his company had managed prisons in Australia for 17 years, operating in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales…While National MPs had emphasised cost savings, that should not be the only driver, Mr Bezuidenhout said.

“Privatisation is not about cost savings. If that’s all you want to achieve I am saying that you are knocking at the wrong door.

…I’m sorry, what – let’s hear that again…

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“Privatisation is not about cost savings. If that’s all you want to achieve I am saying that you are knocking at the wrong door”. 

…the managing director of GEO told the Select Committee to their faces that Privatisation would not be a cheaper option, yet National still use this to justify this experiment.

I pointed this out repeatedly in 2009, but no one was bothering to listen then.

So the lower cost is a lie, what about the supposed safety of private prisons because the fines that can be imposed, well here’s Dom Karauria, a former general manager for ACRP who was running that prison privately. He is very clear where the responsibility will be…

“The answer is you people. You people here are representing the New Zealand public and I’m sure the final legislation that is determined will ensure there is no avenue for those difficulties to occur here.”

…agains – WHAT? The politicians, will be responsible, not the Private Prison? How extraordinary, yet we have the current Corrections Minister ducking and diving claiming it’s all Serco’s fault.

The Government were told in their own Select Committee hearing in 2009 that Private Prisons wouldn’t save them money and that the buck ultimately stopped with them. They were told that by actual management bosses of actual Private Prisons so pretending to not know or shifting responsibility elsewhere is simply crap.

The Government were told but the media didn’t bother making much of an issue of it and the public were asleep at the wheel. The mess that Serco has become is no surprise yet here we have a media and Government acting surprised.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Yes …but Gosman , Andrew and Dan and their mates are all for the private sector….so it couldn’t be all wrong….

    Could it ?

    Silence is sometimes golden but a roaring silence is never good.

    So much for the great ‘ neo liberal reforms’ , eh ?

    The only thing it ever achieved was social malaise , degeneration , poverty and a reversal into 19th century barbarism and debtors prisons.

    Headed by anti democratic apologist’s and deceivers like the jOHN kEY nAtIoNaL gOvT.

    AND WE’RE PAYING FOR IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Seems the Head Hunters were running Mt Eden Prison. One would never know evidently the Hells Angels have infiltrated most police forces world wide. Serco would be a piece of cake

  3. Seems the Head Hunters were running Mt Eden Prison. One would never know evidently the Hells Angels have infiltrated most police forces world wide. Serco would be a piece of cake

  4. It’s a bugger when even the proponents of privatisation tell the tell that private will not necessarily be better, nor cheaper…

    In which case, what, precisely was the point of it all? Oh yeah,it’s “cheaper” and “responsibility will rest with the private provider”…

    *facepalm*

    • I can conclude that there were two points behind it. One is obvious, the other not. The obvious one is sheer National party pig-headedness, the refusal to admit that one could be wrong. The other is that some people probably stood to make a lot of money with the decision to go to Serco. I would be interested to know the financial connections between Serco and members of the National government. There is a dirty stink of corruption in this, but we can hardly hope that this will ever be explored by our government-toadying MSM.

  5. Re 2009 – “The Government were told but the media didn’t bother making much of an issue of it and the public were asleep at the wheel.”

    Well, be fair – 9 rugby players died that year, we had other much more important things to worry about than the state of the nation. (Cue rousing chorus of “Give ’em a taste of Kiwi.”)

  6. Right on Martyn as usual again.

    MSM is negligent and should be charged with neglectful behaviour by failing to providing”balance” in news for public benefits.

    The Government were told but the media didn’t bother making much of an issue of it and the public were asleep at the wheel. The mess that Serco has become is no surprise yet here we have a media and Government acting surprised

  7. As we move further and further towards NZ becoming ‘Little US’, the US itself is rethinking privatization – especially in the area of Private Prisons. In one state, hit by riots, mismanagement, zero training, lack of any tangible oversight, the government has severed ties with the operator of six of the prisons and considering doing likewise with the company managing another.

    Time for New Zealanders to wake up and smell the burnt coffee being brewed in John Key’s office.

  8. One good thing will come from all this; Serco’s track record here in New Zealand will impact on it’s ability to win new contracts elsewhere in the world.

    Everything written about Serco, whether on blogs or on the MSM, will be searchable, and critics of privatisation will be using the Kiwi experience to oppose further privatisation of social services.

    It was an experiment.

    It failed.

    • Crazily enough, this government now wants to use Serco to manage our social housing??? I wonder how they’ll fuck this one up??

  9. […] Those of us who have been campaigning against the privatisation of prisons were making these points …, it is sad that the media’s honeymoon with the Government has kept the deep problems here off the media agenda for so long. The reason no one cared about this is because NZers have built up such a media fuelled hatred of prisoners that their abuse has not registered at all as something we should even be informed of. […]

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