Auckland's 45 year-old maximum security prison at Paremoremo is to get a makeover under a public-private partnership contract that is expected to be worth more than $200 million.
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley announced the planned upgrade today, saying the facility needed to be modernised to improve the ability to manage difficult prisoners, provide better mental health care, and to take pressure off the mental health forensic unit, the Mason Clinic.
The Department of Corrections is calling for expressions of interest for a 25-year contract to design, build and maintain the facility, which has a target opening date of mid-2017.
Paremoremo, officially called Auckland Prison, was expensive to maintain and "while it is still very secure, it doesn't provide staff with the best environment to deal with challenging prisoners, or to deliver specialist rehabilitation or mental health services."
In September last year, a consortium led by Fletcher Building won a $300 million PPP contract to construct a new 960-bed facility at Wiri, in South Auckland, due to open in 2015. That contract involved UK listed company Serco to run the Wiri prison and Spotless Facility Services to maintain it. Serco also runs the recently opened Auckland Remand prison.
Meanwhile, infrastructure investor Infratil said today it plans to put A$100 million into Australian public private partnerships over the coming few years, deciding it likes the look of the transport, health and education sectors across the Tasman.
Last week Infratil put a planned share buyback on hold while it mulled "potential transactions".