Kneejerk is what they do best

I’ll give the new government one thing, they certainly are causing a reaction.

They have quickly set about making ideological changes very quickly indeed. Nowhere more so than in Education and Corrections.

Otorohanga planned for a housing boom that could go bust. 

The 1500-bed increase at Waikeria Prison proposed by the National government is in jeopardy.

Labour said on Sunday it prefers the National’s $1 billion prison spend-up to go on prevention instead.

But Otorohanga District Council had already planned a residential subdivision to accommodate the predicted 500 to 600 employees that would have come with the prison expansion.

The extension to Otorohanga’s Westridge subdivision at the end of Thomson Avenue is just two months away from the start of road construction.

Last year, the National government unveiled plans for a $1b spend on 1800 new prison beds.

Included was the 1500-bed expansion at Waikeria, extra beds at Northland’s Ngawha Prison, and a new 245-bed block at Mt Eden Corrections Facility.

The Labour Party was vocal in its opposition.

And now Labour’s in government, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has wasted no time, saying on Sunday “our least-preferred option is to build more prisons”.

“The reality is, if you put someone in prison, especially a young person, you can guarantee that they’ll return to prison, which means they’ll get out and commit more crimes and create more victims.

“So we’d rather look at other options.”

Otorohanga District Mayor Max Baxter called that a knee-jerk reaction.

“If that was to happen, and the plug was pulled, that would be disappointing,” Baxter said

Baxter said the prospect of bringing hundreds of permanent full-time staff to the area was huge.

The proposed prison facility would create substantial economic benefits, including an increase in house values.

He had expected the district’s population to grow by 1000 to 2000, as every employee usually had a partner or a family.

Baxter said he would expect, at the least, to have a conversation with Government ministers before the prison expansion was formally axed.

What Mayor Baxter needs to understand is a couple of things. Labour does kneejerk better than most. On top of that Otorohanga is smack in the middle of one of the bluest seats in the country. Labour simply doesn’t care about the provinces because, quite simply, the provinces don’t vote Labour.

They actually don’t care about jobs in Otorohanga, or new housing…or anything actually, other than releasing 3000 of our most hardened criminals onto the streets.

That’s Labour for you. Knee-jerk and uncaring.

 

-Fairfax


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