Prison riot costs taxpayers $46m

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says the cost of damage caused by the Waikeria Prison riot is “eye-watering”. Times file photo

Figures released in the Department of Corrections’ annual report show the costs of damage caused by the Waikeria Prison riot have blown up to more than $46 million, says National’s Corrections spokesperson Simeon Brown.

“The cost of damage caused by the Waikeria Prison riot is eye-watering at an estimated cost of $46.6 million,” said Brown, the MP for Pakuranga.

With a maximum insurance pay-out available to Corrections of $23 million, taxpayers are left more than $23 million out of pocket.

“This is completely unacceptable given Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis allowed the riot to continue for six days, destroying the entire upper jail,” Brown said.

“The Government’s failure to take action sooner has resulted in an unnecessary cost to taxpayers.

“The damage caused to the upper jail saw considerable loss of property and costs incurred in damages to property, plant and equipment of $18.4m, with business continuity costs another $20.4m.”

The demolition cost is on top of this, according to documents released to National under the Official Information Act.

“The whole situation at Waikeria was a Kelvin Davis catastrophe from start to finish. Here we are now, months later, footing the bill for his incompetence,” Brown said.

“The Minister has proven time and again that he is capable only of opening the doors to let prisoners out. It’s criminal.”