The government has announced plans for 500 new beds at Waikeria Prison ditching the previous government's plan to build a mega prison on the site.    

A 100-bed mental health facility is also included in the plan which the government says addresses the high number of inmates with mental health issues.

A first of its kind in corrections, measures for prevention are built into the facilities, a move that's applauded by advocate legal advocate Julia Whaipooti who actually took her concerns on this issue to the United Nations.   

Current stats say NZ's prisons are full to bursting. Labour's answer is to build more prisons, but with an active focus on reducing inmate numbers.   

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says they're considering other options, including transitional housing. 

The new prison should be ready by the end of next year.