Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis – we learned this morning – hadn’t seen fresh prison population forecasts when plans to build a mega-prison at Waikeria were scrapped in May.
Never mind that he later issued a clarifying statement. The key point is that instead of proceeding to build the biggest prison in the country, he announced a small prison to replace the deteriorating jail at Waikeria. It will be a 500-bed high-security facility with a 100-bed specialised unit for prisoners suffering significant mental health issues.
The new forecasts are unlikely to have tempered his thinking. He says mega-prisons don’t work.
The headline on a press statement that came our way was rich with possibilities: TREES THAT COUNT SET TO GROW THROUGH PROVINCIAL GROWTH FUND SUPPORT
Trees that count – we mused – could be gainfully employed keeping tabs on Forestry Minister Shane Jones’ performance as he sets out on his mission to have a billion trees planted.
Trees that count might be useful in the Treasury, too, which was embarrassed (or should have been) by the recent findings of an independent review into a coding error that affected child-poverty projections given to the Government in December 2017.