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WINZ conference cost $1764 per person

Labour 2000 web site

The WINZ conference at the centre of a public storm because of the $165,000 spent on chartered planes had an astonishing total cost of $247,000, said Labour spokesperson on employment Steve Maharey.

"The figures reported by TV3 show the all-up cost of the two-day one night conference amounted to $1764 per person.

"The WINZ story is becoming more outrageous with each new revelation. For $1764 each, WINZ could have taken its staff somewhere exotic like Bali.

"It is ridiculous," Mr Maharey said. "The Opposition will be demanding this week that the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income Roger Sowry comes off the sidelines and acts decisively.

"There is something seriously wrong with the management culture in WINZ that allows spending of this level on conferences. It is vital that staff get together, particularly during a time of transition, but $1764 per person for a one-night two-day conference is simply over the top. WINZ deals with the most vulnerable New Zealanders and its all-glitz style is inappropriate.

"If Christine Rankin doesn't agree she needs to be restrained by the Minister or fired."

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