Govt Agency to spend over $1/4 million Plus on 2 extra desks
Government Agency to spend over $1/4 million Plus on 2 extra desks.
$250,000 plus for a extra two seats in an existing building?
I'm sure that's not what the Government expected when the Govt Property Management Centre of Expertise released their second Crown Office Estate report this year.
But that is what Antarctica New Zealand is about to spend in an effort to look good in next years report.
The agency, with a staff of 27,is based at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch ,shares its facilities, including a large warehouse, with the NZ Historic Places Trust and Antarctic Heritage Trust.
In its first showing in the report, the institute turns out to be in the top third of one statistic report,based on square meter per workstation by agency.
This apparently caught the eye of their board Chair, Rob Fenwick who has lead the drive to refurbish the office space into a huge open plan area based on this seemingly bad statistic, with a back up plan of justification for an extra few seats for the newly established NZ Antarctic Research Institute.
Never mind, that the existing layout could easily cope by utilising an existing empty office for NZARI.
Despite very little consultation and raising issues the staff were basically told by Fenwick last week, "thanks for your input, but it's going to happen". With the existing CEO, Lou Sanson absent for a month leading up to his new job as the face of Department of Conservation,there has been apparently little stomach from the management team to stand up to the Board Chairman.
Staff are understandably puzzled & for an organisation which has had the need to save tax payers money beaten into them for many years, were left shrugging their shoulders in disbelief. They were originally openly told by Sanson told this report is the reason for the expenditure & the process was being driven by Fenwick.
With the exception of the Managers & HR, the majority of staff are already in team based shared office space, easily meeting the governments ideal workspace of unto 16 sqm per person. The four management team members themselves squeezed up together following the arrival of the NZ Historic Places and Department of Conservation after the Canterbury earthquakes. Then quickly reclaimed their own offices last year following the departure of DOC to their new open plan offices in Christchurch.
Over $60,000 was spent in the last year actually building and furnishing two new breakout rooms to cope with noise complaints in existing shared office spaces. These will be demolished as part of the plan and everyone will be getting new furniture and technology to meet the new layout requirements as well.
You can see where the Government plan comes in for new building leases, the business case is simple, it's cheaper for developers & hence rental charged is lower. But existing premises & rentals….where is the sense in this?
Perhaps Fenwick, who prides himself on promoting sustainability & environment, should reflect on this. $250,000 plus, where's the sustainability & savings in this plan ?
In the grand scheme of things, it may not be much - but multiply that by all the other organisations listed in the Crown office Estate Report revamping their existing offices to look good statistically and we have a potential problem.
I'm hoping a minister somewhere will ask for a "please explain" on behalf of taxpayers.