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Dunne Broadens Commuting Public Servants Inquiry

Public Response Leads Dunne To Broaden Inquiry On Commuting Public Servants

United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, is broadening his investigation into public servants paid to commute to work, following the public response.

Earlier this week Mr Dunne revealed that 82 public servants are costing taxpayers nearly $2.3 million to commute on a weekly basis to Wellington to work.

"Since making the figures public, I have been contacted by many members of the public, including public servants, with much more specific information, all of which leads me to the conclusion that what has been made public so far is just the tip of the iceberg."

"I have been told of people whose travel and accommodation costs have been hidden in their remuneration packages to avoid discovery; of cases where people are routinely called to Wellington for a Monday morning meeting that just happens to last until Friday afternoon; and I have even been told of a case of someone commuting from Sydney each week."

"In many cases, I have been provided with specific names and other details, which I am not going to reveal at this stage, until all the allegations have been checked out," he says.

Mr Dunne says that as a result of this additional information, he will now be asking more questions relating to State Owned Enterprises and quasi Government agencies, which were not part of the original survey.

"So far, my investigation has been limited to the core public service, but the practice is obviously far more widespread than that, hence the need for a wider inquiry," he says.

Mr Dunne says there is no consistent standard to the level of payment for commuting public servants, or the way in which it is calculated.

"I have therefore written today to both the State Service Commissioner and the Auditor-General requesting they carry out a full investigation into what is happening, including the specific allegations that have been referred to me, and that more specific rules be developed."

"What is now abundantly clear is that the $2.3 million so far disclosed is extremely conservative, and that the real cost to taxpayers of commuting public servants is much, much higher," he says.

ENDS

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