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Beehive staff list grows as Labour's luck runs out

Beehive staff list grows as Labour's luck runs out

More staff than ever are working for Ministers in the Labour-led Government.

"And it would appear there's more cronyism than ever, according to the Government's latest phone list," says National Party Deputy Leader Roger Sowry.

"The Government phone directory shows there are 251 staff working for Ministers in and outside cabinet, an increase of about 10% in the past three years.

"The Government won't tell us the real cost of employing all these extra staff, it claims those seconded from outside Ministries shouldn't be included in the total," he says.

"However, using answers Helen Clark gave to Parliamentary questions last year, the lion's share of Beehive employees earn around $40,000 a year.

"Using that median, the cost of the extra staff to the taxpayer is around $1 million a year and rising," Mr Sowry estimates.

"This from a Government that criticised National Prime Ministers Jenny Shipley and Jim Bolger for having less than 20 staff - now Helen Clark has 29, according to the latest Government phone list.

"After the Prime Minister's recent reshuffle, which increased the number of Ministers to 27, the Labour-led Government is now supporting the biggest Ministry in New Zealand's history.

"That's yet another burden on the taxpayer," says Mr Sowry.

"It's telling that of the 251 employees on the phone list, 33 are intimately involved in media relations or communications.

"That's more evidence that this truly is the Government of spin," Mr Sowry says.

"Is this the 'open and transparent' Government that Helen Clark promised voters?

"The National Party stands for limited Government and less bureaucracy, but clearly Labour is leading New Zealand down another path," Mr Sowry says.

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