ZB

Rusty police cells: Latest headache at $300m Christchurch justice precinct

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Jan 2022, 1:35pm
Rusty cells at the Christchurch central police station is the latest issue at the $300m Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct. Photo / George Heard
Rusty cells at the Christchurch central police station is the latest issue at the $300m Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct. Photo / George Heard

Rusty police cells: Latest headache at $300m Christchurch justice precinct

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Jan 2022, 1:35pm

Rusty police cells are causing headaches at Christchurch's $300 million justice precinct. 

The iron bars in the custody cells at the central city police station are deteriorating and being investigated, the Herald has learned. 

It's the latest in a string of issues at Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, which is only four years old. 

After inquiries from the Herald, police confirmed the rusty cells are being looked at. 

"Canterbury Police are working with the Ministry of Justice, as landlord of the Justice and Emergency Precinct, in relation to issues with the performance of some aspects of the custody unit," a police spokeswoman said. 

"Police are continuing to use all cells in the custody unit, but are closely monitoring the issues identified." 

Police say they are working with the Ministry of Justice on the issue. Photo / File 

The spokeswoman referred further questions to the Ministry of Justice. 

The Department of Corrections also referred queries to police and the ministry. 

However, the Ministry of Justice, after repeated requests, did not respond to questions. 

The justice precinct, in the central business district on Lichfield St, has been mired with issues since it opened in September 2017. 

The Ministry of Justice revealed in 2019 that it had needed $5.5m worth of repairs and maintenance since it opened two years earlier. 

And last year it was revealed that it needed more than $700,000 in repairs and maintenance to its air-conditioning, electrical and lighting systems. 

Its interior is currently entombed in scaffolding as more work is carried out to install a mechanism for cleaning its vast windows, as well a system to replace light bulbs. 

The project proved an expensive loss for constructor Fletcher Building, after agreeing with the Ministry of Justice of a maximum project price of $240m. At the time, it was the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand history. 

Fletcher ended up being sued by utilities subcontractor Electrix, which said while it was paid $21m for its work on the project, it should have got another $7.5m - and in May 2020, the High Court agreed. 

- by Kurt Bayer, NZ Herald