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Government uses secondments to hide salary costs

Government uses secondments to hide true salary costs

Hon Bill English - National Party Leader

There has been a 22 percent increase in staff in Ministerial offices since Labour became Government; in June 1999, the present administration had 189 staff but by September 2002 it had 232 staff, says National Party Leader Bill English.

“The Clark administration has gone to great lengths to hide the true cost of the increase in salaries through secondments from government departments. National has now uncovered this deception.

“The number of secondees working in Ministerial offices has increased by 60 per cent. According to information released to National under the Official Information Act, the total cost of seconded staff has actually dropped.

“The only explanation for this is that the salaries of secondees is being picked up by the departments and not by Ministerial Services in an effort to hide the real cost. In other words, Clark’s administration is getting extra staff, but individual government departments are picking up the bill.

“Also the number of Ministerial staff now earning over $50,000 has gone from 76 staff in 1999 to 94 this year. Other interesting cost increases discovered by National show that there has been a rapid increase in what has been paid out for mobile phone costs. In the last two years, cellphone costs for Clark’s administration has gone from $131,000 to an anticipated $162,000 for this year.

“The Prime Minister came into Government on the platform of integrity and running a frugal operation. The figures uncovered by National would suggest that platform is now also victim of the rotting home syndrome,” says Mr English.

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