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The incompetent and bumbling Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis is being forced to sell a lie that National’s plans for Waikeria Prison were like a ‘US-style mega prison’ but is failing miserably to do it convincingly, National’s Corrections Spokesperson David Bennett says.

“Perhaps Mr Davis gets as nervous in the House as he does in interviews, because he was today unable to answer a simple question about the size of the biggest prison in the US.

“In an attempt to justify why her Government is recklessly refusing to build the required number of prison beds to meet forecast growth in the muster, the Prime Minister has forced her Ministers to join her in misleading the public about National’s plans to build a 1500-bed facility at Waikeria Prison being akin to ‘US-style mega prisons’.

“But she should have done her research, because then she’d realise that the Government cannot reasonably make such a comparison when the biggest prison in the US, the Los Angeles County Jail, houses around 18,000 prisoners.

“National’s plans for Waikeria Prison would have made it the largest facility in New Zealand by around 400 beds, but still far from anything like a US prison. In fact, it would have housed around 8 per cent of the number of prisoners housed in the Los Angeles County Jail.

“Mr Davis clumsily tried to provide some kind of rationale for the Government’s spin, but just like almost everything else he attempts, he royally stuffed it up.

“It’s almost as bad as his admission that prisoners might have to sleep on mattresses on the prison floor because the Government won’t have enough beds to cope with demand.

“That’s hardly going to be good for the mental health of prisoners. After claiming to be ‘focused on mental health’, the Government is now going to have to come up with a line to spin its way of this failure.

“But it should think of something better than the ‘US-style mega prison’ line. Better still, it should build the required number of prison beds so that prisoners don’t have to sleep on the floor.”

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