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Government continues to fudge cost of promoting

4 October 2004

Government continues to fudge cost of promoting

Working for Families package

United Future finance and revenue spokesperson Gordon Copeland today called on the government to be much more transparent in relation to its controversial $21.15 million publicity campaign related to the Working for Families package.

“They continue to fudge the issue. They tell us that officials are working to ensure that the government’s goals in respect of this campaign can be met for less than the initially agreed amount, but they need to go much further.

“The schedule attached to the Auditor General’s report on this matter showed that the target of the campaign is to get in touch with just 85,000 families. The government continue to mislead when they say that 300,000 families will benefit when 215,000 of those families already receive the assistance.

“It is plainly ridiculous to pretend that it would cost anywhere near $21.15 million to make contact with just 85,000 families. As I pointed out in my speech in the House a few weeks ago they could actually mail material to all of New Zealand’s 1.9 million families for say $2 each, and then reward the 85,000 who fill out the necessary forms with a gift of $50.

“Even with that extraordinary and unnecessarily extravagance the all-up cost would be just $8 million, a saving to the taxpayer of $13 million!

“In reality though, I imagine that a private company could readily track down those 85,000 families for the government at a cost of no more that $4 million, a saving of $17 million!

“As the saying goes “that would buy a heck of a lot of hip replacements”!

“It is time for the government to come clean with the public,” said Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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