Corrections spent over $305,000 on slushy syrup and machine maintenance - OIA figures

  • 02/05/2024

"Slushies are back!" - The controversial debate over slushies in New Zealand prisons has returned, and AM hosts are hoping the fiery (or more like ice cold) topic reaches our political chambers once again. 

It was revealed by Stuff on Thursday that Corrections has spent more than $305,000 on maintaining slushy machines and purchasing syrup in the past six years. 

That's about $1000 a week. 

It comes after the slushy spend caused uproar in Parliament in 2019, with then-Opposition leader Simon Bridges losing his cool at the taxpayer funded initiative to buy the machines.  

At the time it was revealed Corrections had spent over $1 million on 193 slushy machines to keep staff cool during a heatwave. 

Now, despite Bridges' impassioned point of view slamming them as "irresponsible and wasteful spending", figures released under the Official Information Act to a member of the public have found 160 of those machines are still in use, as well as an additional $305,906 spend on their upkeep. 

The spend is made up of $217,273 on slushy machine syrup and some maintenance, as well as a further $81,598 on maintaining and cleaning the machines. Another $7035 was spent on "other consumables". 

AM hosts on Thursday said they hoped the spend-up gets airing in Parliament once again. 

"I just think it's a hilarious story because it's slushies," Lloyd Burr said. 

"I reckon for a work function they might just bring in some vodka and some mixers then you just make some slushy margaritas or something like that. Perfect, got the machine there." 

Slushy-lover Burr said winter wouldn't put him off the icy treat. 

"I'm a sucker for a frozen Coke… so good, I'd love our workplace to get a slushy machine, be bloody good," he said. 

But co-host Melissa Chan-Green said it would be hard luck getting that over the line. 

"Among other things, that's probably bottom of the list," Burr admitted. 

The wishful thinking didn't stop the hosts having a laugh, though.