OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: What gorilla?

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    My concern in more with the longevity of the shipping containers; if they cost $380 k per cell but only last twenty years then compared to a $600 k standard cell that lasts 80 years that seems like a pretty bad deal.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    “Cost per bed” had nothing to do with beds, or cells. It's just the total cost of the prison divided by the prisoners it's designed to hold.

    I'm staggered at how many people don't understand this very basic point.

    I spent part of yesterday lying in a hospital bed listening to Danny Watson and a chorus of morons on Newstalk ZB work themselves into a frenzy over how it could possibly cost $634,000 (or $380,000 if you use one o' them containers) to build one prison cell. No one seemed to grasp it.

    Okay, I'm not looking for those people to make important decisions, lead the country, etc. But shouldn't the Prime Minister be able to understand it?

    Mr Key said prisons were running out capacity and cheaper options had to be found to house prisoners.
    Under the previous government it had cost more than $600,000 to build a single new prison cell.

    "That is an outrageous sum of money, that is more than the average cost of the average New Zealand home. I can't see that the public are going to support a situation where prisoners are going to be put in a cell that cost more than there house," Mr Key said.

    Is Stupidity one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17939 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    The thought that the gummint is cutting funding on education (adult education, enviro schools), in favour of building more prisons is just a touch depressing. What happened to the debate to alternatives to prison?

    Incidentally, does anyone else find the ad to the left of this screen (the flashing one) just a touch irritating?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Hope you are feeling better and back into action, Russell. These bright and sunny winter mornings are uplifting for us all.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    McVicar: Containers – Our Soldiers Would Love Them, even though tents are probably easier to carry.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1091 posts Report Reply

  • Kari Hammond,

    i just love the cost per bed line designed to stir up some public furor.
    p.s. check this out for good use of shipping containers (and its local)
    http://www.port-a-bach.com

    Auckland • Since Mar 2009 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Murphy,

    Russell, I think you have the first horseman correctly identified there.

    Just wondering now what the others are.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hope you are feeling better and back into action, Russell.

    Feeling better, yes. Back into action would be rather overstating things.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17939 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Jamieson,

    Just wondering now what the others are.

    Laziness is another.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Jamieson,

    He'll just kind of saunter into town, hardly anyone will notice, and by the time they do the damage will have been done...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    These sound more like humanity's faithful companions than signs of the end of days.

    See Ambrose Bierce:

    FOOL, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscience, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught the nations war—founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government.

    He is from everlasting to everlasting—such as creation's dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existence headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand was warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man's evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Speaking of which, make that McVicar link http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0906/S00248.htm; he got published in the wrong place.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1091 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    The thought that the gummint is cutting funding on education (adult education, enviro schools), in favour of building more prisons is just a touch depressing. What happened to the debate to alternatives to prison?

    At this rate, the country's going to face an ambulance shortage - they'll all be @ the bottom of Laura Norder Cliff.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3897 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    The NZDF used containers for a mobile medical unit in PNG after the Tsunami. Also used in Afghanistan.

    Prisoners/humans need higher standards for accomodation and there won't be too much money for an Architech on this project I'm sure.

    Prisoners don't play well with others and are likely to bang on the walls leading to ACC claims for damaged hearing & burning the interior linings out, which is why concrete is used so much.
    The short term cost will be overtaken with their ongoing up keep.

    If it was this simple wouldn't they have moved some caravans in?

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    What I can't get over is that no one is asking "what can we do to make sure that fewer people end up in prison?"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 1958 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Collins has answered that already. Cut 300 Police cars!

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Murphy,

    There was a "Drivers of crime" conference recently which I believe came up with some ideas about that.

    But having been at what was billed as a "Debate" between David Garrett and Kim Workman about the ACT 3 strikes policy, it seems the ACT view is that we have tried all of these liberal solutions to no success over the last 30 years.

    The other side of this is of course that funding has only really been applied to prisons, with any rehabilitative efforts having to scratch together enough funding to keep going.

    Seems to require different horsemen than we currently have on hand to get somewhere.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Sigh.

    Putting aside the (highly valid and needed) discussions around WHY we have such a burgeoning prison population, the point about an immediate need for prison beds at efficient cost very much stands.
    And properly designed cells using containers on existing prison land does seem a valid possible response to that.

    But why do we have a Government that refuses to engage in normal, adult discussion about it? Do we have to be spun EVERYTHING?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Keith Ng: Asking the actual questions so that other media don't have to.

    No wait, something's backwards about that...

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    So how can they save so much money? They can't. The $643,000 vs $380,000 figures are rigged.

    Thank you Keith. This was what I was writing about yesterday, although in a roundabout way.
    As soon as you hear this govt. claiming to save money you have to ask "who ends up with the "saved" money" you can bet on the fact that it won't be anything to the advantage of those in need.

    I did see the moon walking bear but yesterday I was looking for the sly dog in the room. Thanks again for pointing it out.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4443 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I spent part of yesterday lying in a hospital bed listening to Danny Watson and a chorus of morons on Newstalk ZB work themselves into a frenzy

    It's easy to dismiss talkback radio as the insane ravings of hyped morons. Which it is.

    But what really, really, irks me about the New Zealand media is the number who've worked in talkback who now write columns or present television shows. There should some rule that talkback radio disqualifies you from having another job in media, ever. That might cut out a couple of good people, but it would save us from plenty of morons.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2078 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    My folks have some converted shipping containers, and apart from the obvious Laura Norder issues, it does seem like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    They need a lot of painting, and having usually been at sea, corrosion is quite an issue. Also, for living purposes, the main advantage of the containers is to use the former refrigerated ones, which are lined with polystyrene and then an aluminium(?) shell. The shell aint very sturdy, and I think to make the lining prison grade would probably mean replacing it, removing most of the supposed advantage.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 667 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    BTW I do like the idea of giving welding gear to all the people in jail, I'm sure they'll make good use of it .....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 1958 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Okay, I'm not looking for those people to make important decisions, lead the country, etc. But shouldn't the Prime Minister be able to understand it?

    To be fair, it wasn't a direct quote, and I suspect that it might have been NZPA that screwed it up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 522 posts Report Reply

  • Sylvie Zlami,

    So this talk about expensive, or affordable (depending on your point of view), prisons, shipping containers and what not .... Isn't that just the noise the machine makes when it's warming up, just before the privatisation?
    It is a rather lucrative business sector, after all. one of the few sectors that continue to experience growth ...

    auckland • Since Dec 2007 • 31 posts Report Reply

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