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Answers needed on High Commissioner’s residence

Foreign Affairs Spokesperson                       
24 May 2013

Media Statements

Answers needed on High Commissioner’s residence

New Zealand taxpayers should be told why they are having to fork out $7500 a week to pay for alternative premises for the High Commissioner in London while the official residence remains empty, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Phil Goff, says.

“Foreign Affairs has just been savagely restructured, with staff being made redundant and allowances slashed to save money.

“There will need to be very good reasons why $390,000 a year is being spent on alternative High Commission accommodation. That sum would cover the annual salaries of more than five Ministry staff.

“If there is a justifiable reason why this money is being spent, then Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, should tell us.

“The Clareville Street property is only around a decade old. It would be most unusual if it needed major refurbishment at this point.

“If it is able to be occupied, it should be – at least until any decision is made about its replacement or refurbishment.

“I’m sure the Ministry has better use for the $75,000 extra it has cost in just the last 10 weeks to pay for two premises,” Phil Goff said.


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