We've run out of prison space, amongst other issues there is double bunking in cells designed for a single prisoner.
It's being called Labour's first great test as Government, the signing off on a one billion dollar 'mega prison'.
Today, 32 academics have asked the government to reject it.
Jarrod Gilbert, a sociologist at the University of Canterbury, joined Wendyl Nissen looking at the awkward position New Zealand is in.
He says we need the prison space but building it is an expensive acknowledgement that we have a problem.
"You can only push so many people into a single room before you create conditions that are inhumane and dangerous.
"It's an extremely difficult situation we've found ourselves in," Mr Gilbert said.
It's an awful position to be in.
This new facility will house 3000 prisoners, yet the government's goal is to reduce our prison population by 30 percent in 15 years.
Listen to the full interview with Jarrod Gilbert above.
Afternoon Talk with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.