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$1.5M/Month - Merry Xmas, Corrections Consultants

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

$1.5m a month - Merry Christmas, Corrections consultants

Corrections Department consultants will be having an extremely relaxed Christmas after latest figures show they are heading for an even more lucrative year than the one just gone, says National's Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

"For consultants working for Corrections, life just gets better and better.
"The latest figures show the department shelled out $19.4 million of taxpayers' money to consultants in 2006/07.

"That's more than $1.5 million a month and almost double the $10.1 million they spent in 2005/06.

"But it gets better.

"In the first two months of 2007/08, Corrections paid a further $4.1 million to consultants. At that rate they could spend $24 million this year - a $5 million increase on last year.

"This figure includes payments to two people in charge of the new prisons construction project. John Hamilton, of Jagcon, was paid $2.2 million between 2001/02 and last December, and Stewart Rix, of Collaborative Management Services, was paid $1.7 million.

"These numbers are extraordinary, and especially so when you consider that while all this extra spending was going on, Corrections was increasing its fulltime staff by 11% to 6,451.

"And it is extraordinary behaviour by a department that has been under fire for blowing the budget for the four new prisons by $490 million, which included $11 for landscaping.

"Clearly, they weren't content to blow just that budget, so they are paying more and more money to consultants while hiring more and more fulltime staff.

"They even paid $510,000 in salaries and contracts to staff in the Programme Management Office, which was established especially to keep construction costs down.

"It will be very interesting to see if the new Minister, Phil Goff, is able to reign in any of this spending."


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