Labour 'most spun' Government
Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party State Services Spokesman
20 January 2008
spun' Government ever
National Party State Services spokesman Gerry Brownlee says the number of departmental communications staff employed by the Labour Government has exploded in the past five years.
Figures compiled by the National Party from a series of questions and Official Information Act requests reveal that the number of departmental communications personnel has soared from 238 in 2002 to 448 in 2006/07.
"The taxpayer now spends $47 million on departmental communications staff and communications contractors. This must make Labour the 'most spun' Government in history.
"When the number of communications staff is laid alongside annual advertising budgets, it's clear the big-money campaigns in election year will all be Government-run.
"Any public group or political party faces restrictions in election year, yet here we have a small army employed at a cost of nearly $50 million, all pushing positive Government messages."
Mr Brownlee notes that the biggest communications team is based in the Ministry of Social Development, the same ministry that spent millions on Working For Families advertisements.
"I doubt that the similarities between that campaign and Labour's own election campaign in 2005 were a coincidence."
ACC also has a substantial communications team, which would have been involved in spending millions on the controversial 'Covered' campaign, which was found to be 'misleading'.
"Labour piggybacks on these sorts of campaigns with political messages in election year - while silencing its critics with draconian electoral laws.
"In the 2008 election campaign, the big money is taxpayers' money and it'll be used by Labour, whether you vote for Helen Clark or not."
Attached: Table of communications staff & contractors at Government departments -