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Questions over spend of scarce CYF money

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Associate Welfare Spokeswoman (CYFS)

25 June 2006

Questions over spend of scarce CYF money

The National Party Associate Welfare spokeswoman Anne Tolley is concerned that scarce CYF money has been wasted securing an adoption agreement with Lithuania.

“There haven’t been any applications to adopt children from Lithuania since 2000 so why did we spend taxpayer money nailing down an adoption arrangement.”

Mrs Tolley says four senior CYF staff went to the Hague last September to represent New Zealand at a Special Commission relating to the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoptions. They negotiated an agreement that was accredited in April 2006.

“The general manager of operations, the manager of legal services, the national manager of adoptions and a senior advisor also travelled to Lithuania to discuss the inter-country adoption agreement, before heading to the Hague.

“All up, this trip cost the taxpayer $30,000.

“With the ever-increasing number of abuse notifications, the priorities should be on our horrific statistics of infant deaths and our outdated and under-resourced youth justice system, not setting up adoption agreements that have no applicants.”

Mrs Tolley says taxpayers spent $226,593 on airfares and accommodation for CYF staff to attend conferences in the 2004/05 year.

“Yes, of course we should invest in CYF staff development. But taxpayers will question why we’re spending money sending public servants to a country to negotiate an adoption agreement when there has been absolutely no demonstrated demand.”

ENDS

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