Revelations that a multitude of issues have been found with the off-shore manufacturing of modular prison units shows a New Zealand based consortium that tendered using Hawke’s Bay companies should have been chosen for the work, MP for Tukutuki Lawrence Yule says.

“The original $60m tender was won by Decmil in 2017 and signed off by Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis to provide 366 additional prisoner beds. Since then, it has come to light that the Australian based company which outsources its manufacturing to China has had significant quality issues.

“Despite that, in this year’s Budget Mr Davis extended the contract by $125m for a further 600 beds without one cell landing in New Zealand and without putting the contract back out to tender. Given the project was being extended to such a large extent the contract should have been revaluated and New Zealand based companies should have had a fair shot at the work.

“Mr Davis has confirmed there were no expressions of interest called for, yet Hawke’s Bay companies Patton Engineering and Sharp Edge Engineering could have done the work and Hawke’s Bay missed out on the opportunity to create 120 jobs.

“It is unfathomable to me that this Government could extend a contract by $125m to an Australian based company using a Chinese manufacturer without even giving local companies a chance to put forward a tender.  

“We now also know the first 378 cells are nearly a year late, the costs for these have blown out from $60m to $84.5m and Kelvin Davis refuses to give a breakdown of why. All we know is that the units won’t be finished on time and they might not be secure enough.

“If Mr Davis had chosen a local company, he would have had the units ready on time, they would have been made to a much higher standard, fully compliant with the NZ Building Standard 50 year life and Kiwis would have had jobs.

“I am disappointed at this process, the lack of support for New Zealand companies and workers and the complete falsehood that the present Government is supporting the regions.”

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