The Corrections Department is to recruit 600 new staff to cope with the burgeoning prison population.
And it will look to hire about 100 experienced people from abroad - mainly the United Kingdom.
Minister of Corrections Judith Collins said fewer people were receiving bail and there were more people on remand, and more Corrections staff were needed.
"It is actually preparing for the future and making sure that we don't have any situation where there's any understaffing.
"Corrections and I absolutely agree [that] health and safety, safety of staff, safety of the prisoners and the public is extremely important, and I certainly won't countenance any understaffing," Ms Collins said.