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Anderton Slated By Commerce Select Committee

The Commerce Select Committee today released two reports slating Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton's pet projects, ACT MP Rodney Hide said.

"The Vote: Industry and Regional Development Committee and the Vote: Economic Development Committee highlight irregularities in Jim Anderton's pet projects, Industry New Zealand (INZ) and the Ministry of Economic Development (MED).

"The Committee has outlined a gross over-reliance on consultants in both INZ and the Ministry.

"Fifty-six percent of INZ's workforce are consultants. Since inception, INZ has employed 27 consultants at a total budgeted cost of $1.1 million for 2000/01. And it has engaged the services of 45 contractors at a total budgeted cost of $4.9 million for 2000/01.

"The Select Committee said:

We consider that a very high number of consultants and associated costs can have a negative effect on the culture of Industry New Zealand, especially with regard to the loss of institutional knowledge when consultants finish their contracts.

"Things aren't any better down the road at the Ministry of Economic Development.

"The Ministry's staff turnover for permanent positions last year was 19 percent, or 142 staff. The Ministry admitted to the Committee that retention of key staff was a challenge, and revealed that 11 staff had been made redundant since 1 July 2000, with total redundancy, severance and termination packages costing $462,215.

"The Minister for Economic Development has approximately 18 staff in his office. This is the biggest ministerial office with the highest non-Prime Ministerial staff numbers in recent times.

"The waste of money is astounding, coming from a Deputy Prime Minister who electioneered on promises to rid the public service of overspending and exorbitant consultancy fees," Rodney Hide said.

Ends


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