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WINZ Pays $240,000 For Empty Offices

Associate Minister of WINZ Peter McCardle has revealed that WINZ paid almost $250,000 for empty offices since WINZ was formed last October.

The information was provided in response to a written question from Green MP Rod Donald. The question asked the total cost of rents for vacant offices previously occupied by Income Support and the New Zealand Employment Service.

In response McCardle replied: "The rationalisation of front line sites has been accelerated from three years to one year. This has resulted in a $1 million cost saving in rents for 1999 and a projected further saving of $1 million in the year 2000."

Mr Donald said today: "However the minister concedes that rent paid for vacant offices totals $221,748 since October 1 and continues at the rate of $34,290, presumably per month.

"The money wasted on empty offices highlights the very poor forward planning surrounding the Income Support merger to WINZ.

"The least WINZ could do is offer the empty offices to cash strapped community groups, struggling to meet the needs of people who are casualties of government policy," he said.

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