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Taxpayers fund half-day off for WINZ staff

Taxpayers fund half-day off for Work & Income staff

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins is calling on Labour to come clean about how much it would have cost the taxpayer to provide Work & Income staff with an extra paid half-day off.

“If there is nothing to hide and no problem, Rick Barker shouldn’t have any difficulty telling the taxpayer how much it cost all up, including lost wages, travel, entertainment and food - if any was provided.”

Rick Barker has admitted in a written Parliamentary question that all Work and Income’s front line staff received an invitation to attend a shared team lunch and to have the remaining afternoon away from work. The events were staggered over a two-week period, beginning 28 February.

“Mr Barker has tried to claim the Work and Income staff were given the time off for their work in bringing down the unemployment rate. All taxpaying New Zealanders know that the economy is responsible, not Work and Income.

“In fact, earlier this year, Steve Maharey confirmed National’s long-held claim that Work and Income staff only spent 30% of their time getting clients into work, versus 70% of the time spent on administering benefits.

“Taxpaying New Zealanders know there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

Ms Collins says the admission follows revelations that the taxpayer funded a big bash that was later cancelled for staff from the disbanding Community Employment Group, responsible for the ‘hip-hop tour’.

“Labour is recklessly spending vast amounts of taxpayer money with a cavalier disregard. Only National can be trusted to lower taxes for working New Zealanders,” says Ms Collins.


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