Corrections is moving prison staff to new accommodation after concerns the agency was spending too much on luxury 5-star apartments.

Eight officers have been staying at the Edgewater Palms Apartments at Paihia since February while on secondment to the Northland Regional Corrections Facility 30km away.

The advertised daily rate for the apartments is $290 but Corrections’ Deputy Chief Executive of Finance, Property and Technology, Neil Cherry, said the agency was paying within its guidelines of no more than $150 per night before GST.

He said the apartments – which are waterfront with an infinity pool – were the only option available at short notice when staff were needed quickly to deal with rising prisoner numbers.

The arrangement was now being reviewed, said Cherry.

“Although the daily rate represents good value for money and the accommodation more than meets the needs of our staff, better judgment could have been exercised in recommending this option for such a longer term arrangement.

“I have requested that our travel company explores alternative accommodation options for the staff seconded to NRCF.”

Cherry said the staff were among 30 on fixed term, temporary secondment at NRCF, Rimutaka and Waikeria Prisons to train new officers.

“When staff from other prisons are working at these sites and required to live away from home, Corrections is responsible for ensuring that they have accommodation.

“Accommodation is selected to ensure staff are accommodated together wherever possible and have access to meals and laundry services.

“Payment for other costs such as meals and transport for frontline staff are set by the provisions of their Collective Employment Agreement and the Department’s business travel policy.”

Cherry said training was likely to be completed by June.

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