Questions and Answers

What is being proposed?
Why build a new facility at Waikeria?
Impact on the local area and services
Who is Corrections consulting with?
Information about Waikeria Prison and other prisons in NZ
Partnering with the private sector

What's being proposed?

What is a planning designation and why is Corrections applying to amend it?

The Resource Management Act allows for areas of land to be designated for use by network utilities or large public works, such as prisons.  These designated areas are identified in district plans.  For example the designation for Waikeria Prison is in the Otorohanga District Plan.  Land can only be designated by ‘requiring authorities’. A Minister of the Crown can be a ‘requiring authority’ and in terms of Waikeria Prison, it is the Minister of Corrections.

The Ministry for the Environment has written a guide explaining the planning designation process.

The designation in the Otorohanga District Plan allows Waikeria Prison site to be used for prison activities by the Department on behalf of the Minister of Corrections.

The current designation includes a condition that currently limits the maximum number of prisoners on the site to 1250. The Department is proposing to amend the designation to allow up to 3000 prisoners on the site.  The increase in capacity will enable a new facility for 1500 to be built and provide for future demand if needed.

What’s the process to amend a designation?

The Department of Corrections on behalf of the Minister of Corrections submitted a ‘Notice of Requirement’ to Otorohanga District Council seeking to amend the existing designation for Waikeria Prison. The Council publicly notified the application on 27 April 2017.  See the question below on how to make a submission.

The Ministry for the Environment has written a guide explaining the planning designation process.

Can I make a submission?

Yes.  Otorohanga District Council has publicly notified Corrections application to amend the existing planning designation to allow up to 3,000 prisoner places at Waikeria Prison.  The public can make a submission to Otorohanga District Council until 25 May 2017.

The Ministry for the Environment has written a guide explaining the planning designation process.

What resource consents are needed in addition to the planning designation?

The Department may need to submit resource consents to Waikato Regional Council for earthworks, stormwater and wastewater disposal and removal of contaminated material from the site.

Why build a new facility at Waikeria?

What happens if you don’t build?

If we don’t plan for the forecast increase our prisons will get to the point where we are unable to support our core obligations to provide safe, secure and humane containment.  This would compromise the security of the prison and the safety of staff and prisoners.  It would also make it more difficult to achieve our objectives, such as  reducing re-offending, due to an increased demand for places in special units, rehabilitation, employment and education programmes..

When will the new facility be built?

If the designation change is approved and resource consents obtained, it is anticipated that construction will start in the first half of 2018 with construction to be completed by 2020.

What will the new facility look like?

The design of the new facility is being developed by a Private Partner consortium through a PPP process which will not be finalised until April 2018. It is therefore not possible to provide detailed plans of the proposed development. For the purpose of assessing the impacts of the proposal on the environment, and providing the community with information, design parameters have been developed for the site.

How much will it cost to build?

The cost of the new facility will not be known until the procurement and negotiations with the successful private partner consortium are complete.

Impact on the local area and services

How will increasing prisoner capacity at Waikeria Prison contribute to local business and employment?

It is anticipated that the proposed new facility will create local employment and business opportunities during the construction stage and when it is operational.  Increasing the size of the Prison represents a significant investment in the local economy and will provide financial benefits to a number of contractors and other suppliers.

What security features are proposed?

The safety of the public is the top priority for Corrections. The level of physical security at each prison varies and is dependent on the types of prisoner accommodated.  The proposed facility will include a number of security measures including highly secure accommodation and a secure perimeter.  It is anticipated that our private partner will be including the latest innovations regarding security from local and international experience.

Will the rivers and waterways surrounding the prison be impacted during the construction and operation of the proposed new facility?

We are engaging with Waikato Regional Council and local iwi to identify an appropriate wastewater treatment system for the proposed increase in prisoner numbers on the site.

Is there a sufficient water supply for 3,000 prisoners?

Yes. The Department of Corrections holds a resource consent to take up to 1,000m3 of water from a groundwater bore on the Waikeria Prison site. This is sufficient to provide for up to 3,000 prisoner places and associated staff. The site also has an emergency water supply from a different groundwater bore to provide water to the site in the event of a problem.

Can the existing wastewater treatment plant cope with the increase in demand?

No. We are investigating four options for the replacement of the wastewater treatment plant and will be consulting with iwi and other interested parties and discussing it with Waikato Regional Council. The replacement option would be in place before the new facility begins operation.

Will the neighbourhood experience any disruption during construction of the new facility?

A Construction Management Plan will be developed to ensure any disruption from construction activities is avoided or minimised. The plan will consider matters such as construction noise, dust, traffic access and lighting.

We will ask our construction partner to ensure that the local community is informed of plans and progress as this unfolds. Construction is expected to start in 2018.

With the proposed increase in the number of prisoners and staff on the site, will there be any disruption to local roads from additional traffic?

The Department has engaged a traffic engineer to assess the effects of the proposal on the surrounding road network and develop plans to address significant adverse effects. This information will be included in the designation application that will be publicly notified.

Waikeria is remote – how will services to support prisoner rehabilitation, education and training be met?

Corrections will work with our service providers (for example health care providers and groups that run rehabilitation and training programmes at the prison) to ensure they have time to ramp up well in advance of the new facility becoming operational.

Who is Corrections consulting with?

How can the community get involved and give feedback?

Corrections started consulting with the local community and other interested parties in late 2016 and asked people to submit their views by completed a feedback form or giving feedback at the public open days that were held.  Corrections refined the application it lodged with Otorohanga District Council based on the feedback received. Otorohanga District Council has publicly notified the application – submissions close on 25 May 2017.  The public can make a submission and speak to their submission at the planning hearing.

How will Tangata Whenua interests be addressed?

Corrections is building on our existing relationships with local iwi and will consult with them throughout the process.

Will the existing staff views be taken into account?

Yes, Corrections will consult with staff and unions during this process.

Information about Waikeria Prison and other prisons in NZ

How many prisons are there in New Zealand?

Over 10,000 prisoners (March 2017) are held in 18 prisons around New Zealand, 15 men’s prisons and three women’s prisons.  One prison (Auckland South Corrections Facility) is run by a private provider, however the Chief Executive of the Department has overall responsibility for all prisoners.  Conditions and practices inside all New Zealand prisons are tightly regulated by law and international convention.

Where is Waikeria Prison?

Waikeria Prison is 16 km south of Te Awamutu in the Waikato. The site is approximately 1200 hectares, making it one of the largest prisons in the prison network.

When did it become a prison?

The first prison camp was established on this site in 1911.  A corrections facility has been present since this time however it has taken different forms including a male borstal and a centre for younger prisoners. It has operated as a men’s prison since 1985.

Partnering with the private sector

How will the new facility be developed?

Corrections intend the new facility to be financed, designed, built and maintained through a Public Private Partnership (PPP). A PPP is a public private relationship between the Government and the Private sector. Corrections will continue to operate the facility including custodial, health, offender employment and rehabilitation activities.

How is the PPP being procured for the new facility?

Corrections is running an open competitive tender process to seek consortia that have the capacity and capability to deliver this project. The procurement involves a three stage process. The first stage is inviting respondents to provide an Expression of Interest (EOI) in this project. The second stage follows the evaluation of those EOIs and shortlisting respondents to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP). The third stage involves evaluating the RFPs to select a Preferred Bidder to start negotiations and agree on the contract to commence construction.

What is the timeframe for the procurement?

An EOI was released by Corrections on 11 January 2017 and closed on 16 February 2017. Respondents who are shortlisted for the RFP will receive the RFP in April 2017. The contract is to be agreed mid 2018 to start construction with the facility to be complete in 2021.

What is the scope of this PPP?

For this project our private sector partner will be responsible for designing, building and financing the facility. The consortium will include a construction partner, design team, banks and other investors and specialist asset management, facilities maintenance and security services providers. The PPP excludes custodial operation of the existing prison and the new facility, this will continue to be carried out by Corrections.

This is similar to the PPP for the new maximum security facility at Auckland Prison, but differs to the PPP for Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF) at Wiri, which is a full custodial PPP with Serco being responsible for the operation of the new prison.

Why use a PPP?

A PPP allows the department to use private sector expertise so that new ideas and innovations can be applied to this project, while delivering value for money.  While this PPP will not include the operation of the new facility, innovations in building design and whole-of-life asset management will introduce fresh thinking. These innovations will benefit the new facility, and where possible could be transferred to the wider prison network. We’re already doing this with the new maximum security facility being built at Auckland Prison.

Do any other government agencies use PPPs in New Zealand?

Both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport are working with the private sector to deliver infrastructure services.

How many PPPs is Corrections involved in?

Currently the department is involved with three PPPs:

  1. The Waikeria PPP covers the design, finance, construction and maintenance only – Corrections retains responsibility for the operation.
  2. The Auckland Prison PPP is the same model as Waikeria Prison
  3. The Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF) PPP is a full custodial PPP, which means that SecureFuture in addition to designing, financing, construction and maintaining ASCF also operate the prison. SecureFuture has subcontracted Serco to operate ASCF.