Prisoners give new life to quake houses

22:43, May 20 2014
Rowses Rd, Aranui
MOVING TIME: A red-zoned house renovated by prisoners is placed on a new site at Rowses Rd, Aranui.

The first two red-zoned houses to be refurbished by prisoners have been moved back to Christchurch.

The houses were moved from Rolleston Prison's construction yard to vacant spots on Rowses Rd in Aranui early yesterday.

Another two houses were expected to be moved to the street later this week.

The move was part of a project between Housing New Zealand (HNZ) and the Department of Corrections, which aimed to have prisoners refurbish 150 red-zoned houses over five years.

The project would cost up to $30 million, and the first houses were expected to be available for tenants in July. A Corrections spokesman said the prisoners involved had been able to gain trade skills, which would help them gain employment after they were released.

The work had included recladding, rewiring and replumbing the houses.

Prisoners also added insulation to the walls and ceilings, painted inside and out, and installed new bathrooms, recycled kitchens and added new floor coverings.

HNZ spokesman Paul Commons said the agency was pleased to be able help provide training opportunities for prisoners, while getting to recycle houses.

"At the end we get modern and fit-for-purpose housing for people in need," he said.


The Press