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Sowry Asked To Apologise

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald has written to Social Services Minister Roger Sowry asking him to apologise for claims made in the house yesterday.

During question time, Roger Sowry said, of Rod Donald and Grant Gillon, that they had "repeated things during question time they knew not to be true" in relation to Television New Zealand's attendance at the World Masters of Business Event.

"Not only did I not mention TVNZ once during question time, I was also intending to clarify that although TVNZ were listed as sitting at table 48 for the corporate function, I fully accepted that only one employee attended, and at the budget rate for the purpose of listening to the speakers only," Rod Donald said.

"Unfortunately, in seeking leave to table the VIP luncheon corporate table numbers the Speaker closed me down before I had reached TVNZ on the list of government agencies which attended the event.

"Instead of attacking other members of the House, Mr Sowry should focus on > the performance of the department he is responsible for.

"The fact that WINZ spent $5910 to send 18 people to hear Al 'Chainsaw' Dunlap, an international expert in cost cutting and firing staff, is indefensible.

"No wonder the Minister claims WINZ' big achievement is slashing expenditure rather than achieving outcomes for job seekers when 11 staff from the finance division and 6 managers from the debt unit attended the event.

"The Minister might like to tell the House why the debt managers thought it was a good idea to pay an extra $100 for a pre-packed lunch. Beneficiaries up and down the country who have been denied emergency assistance grants will be outraged to learn of this extravagance.

"I want to know what the Minister is doing to end this culture of corporate extravagance and re-focus WINZ on achieving its key performance targets, which it is so far failing to do.


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