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Second watchdog asked to examine Greens staffing

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Deputy Leader

15 January 2006

Second watchdog asked to examine Greens staffing

National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee says he is asking a second government watchdog to examine and explain the Green Party's unique staffing arrangement.

"The taxpayer was supposed to be funding Ministerial advisers on energy and buying New Zealand made, that's what the ad said. Instead what we've got so far is a salary subsidy for the Green Party chief of staff.

"I will be writing to the State Services Commission in an effort to get an explanation about how a supposedly neutral adviser and public servant, can also do a highly political job as the Green Party's chief of staff. I don't think you can be both at the same time.

"In fact, senior Labour Party MPs previously hounded public servants who joined the Maori Party."

Already the Auditor General is investigating the staffing subsidy, which Mr Brownlee says amounts to a back-hander for the Greens. The funding came from the pool reserved for legitimate Government Ministers

"The Greens are not Ministers and they will not be answerable to Parliamentary questions.

"This is not a development of MMP as claimed, it is a blatant attempt to deceive using taxpayer money that was intended for another purpose," says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS

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