9 Jun 2010

Manurewa residents against new prison

8:07 pm on 9 June 2010

Manurewa residents say they fear the area will become known as the crime capital of New Zealand if a men's prison is built there.

The Department of Corrections has drawn up plans for a 1500-bed prison at Wiri, adjacent to the Auckland region women's prison.

Prison population forecasts indicate the need for an additional 2270 beds across New Zealand by 2019.

About 50 residents heard a presentation from the department on Tuesday night at a public meeting organised by the Manurewa Community Board.

Papatoetoe Community Board member Toa Greening told the meeting that violent crime rose 33% in Manurewa in 2006, the year the women's prison was opened.

He says building a men's prison would attract further crime and turn the area into a ghetto.

The Government intends the new prison to be built, designed and operated under a public-private partnership, with a completion date set for 2014.

The department says more information will be provided at an open day on Saturday at the women's prison.