WELLINGTON, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand Parliament has passed a law that will allow private companies to run prisons again, and the government will decide early next year which jails may be opened up to private management.
Parliament passed the Corrections (Contract Management of Prisons) Bill by 68 votes to 53 on Thursday, Radio New Zealand reported.
The bill delivers on the National Party's election pledge to allow competitive tendering for the management of prisons.
A tender process is expected for the contract to manage one or more prisons next year.
New Zealand Corrections Minister Judith Collins said the government has already had contact from private companies.
She told media private sector management would bring greater innovation, efficiency and cost effectiveness to the corrections system.
But Labor Party's Corrections spokesman, Clayton Cosgrove, said figures supplied to Collins by the Corrections Department showed New Zealand's previous experience of a privately-run prison had proved more costly than the public sector.
Labor said private management would lead to less accountability and transparency as private companies were not open to Parliamentary scrutiny, which would in turn lead to prisons becoming less safe.
In 2005, The New Zealand Labor Party canceled a contract, which had seen an Australian firm manage the Auckland Central Remand Prison.