Housing Minister Megan Woods was impressed with the partnership’s outcomes when she visited the construction yard at Rolleston Prison, near Christchurch, recently.

The partnership sees both Government entities contributing to solving the housing shortage while providing skills and employment opportunities for prisoners.

More than 80 homes have either been refurbished or built from scratch by prisoners working in trade training at Rolleston Prison, and at least 100 brand-new homes will be built there and at Waikato’s Spring Hill Corrections Facility over the next five years.

Dr Woods said it had been “incredible coming out here and seeing the work that is being done”.

“It’s a win for the people who are gaining qualifications. It’s a win for our building industry ... and I know, having spoken with people, what a win this will be for people that are moving into these brand new homes.”

Housing Minister Megan Woods walks through the Rolleston Prison construction yard with staff from Kāinga Ora and Department of Corrections

Conceived originally at Spring Hill, the partnership model between both Government agencies was expanded to Rolleston Prison after the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Prisoners there began contributing to the need for more houses by repairing those damaged in the disaster. Homes were transported to Rolleston Prison, where they would be repaired and eventually returned to Christchurch sites for families needing housing.

About 75 men currently work on the homes, guided by qualified contractors familiar with Kāinga Ora projects. Each home takes between 16 and 24 weeks to build on site, before it is ready to be transported to its permanent location.

The partnership is regarded as a “win-win’’ with prisoners getting access to industry standard training where they can learn trade skills, earn trade qualifications and improve their chances of gaining work in the construction sector upon their release.

This is regarded as an important factor in reducing reoffending rates.

Kāinga Ora benefits by getting more new homes into its Christchurch portfolio which allows it to help house even more people in need. At least five of the prisoners who gained experience on the programme have gone on to gain apprenticeships upon their release.

Read more on our Spring Hill and Rolleston Refurbishment Programme

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Page updated: 6 November 2019