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WINZ Conferences Continue

In the same week as WINZ chief executive Christine Rankin was reprimanded for extravagance, WINZ staff were "living it up" at a three day conference in a Wellington Hotel, Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald said today.

Associate WINZ Minister Peter McCardle provided the information in response to a parliamentary question from Mr Donald.

"Despite all the scrutiny on WINZ it appears they are happy to spend on regardless," Mr Donald said.

The three day in-service training conference was held at Wellington's Airport Hotel starting on August 3 to "improve the services offered by WINZ to employers with job vacancies and to people seeking jobs and benefits".

"The minister has refused to reveal the total cost of the conference but refers to the cost of $241 per staff member per day. Presumably this covers the venue, accomodation and meals."

"On that basis we are looking at at least $28,000 without taking into account travel costs. Either there were a considerable number of airfares or if staff were all from Wellington, why did they need to live in the Airport Hotel when it could have been held at WINZ HQ for free?" asked Mr Donald.

"However you look at it this appears to be another example of WINZ extravagance.

"I challenge the minister to come clean on the total costs of this conference and to justify the costs to the country.

"This level of expenditure appears pretty hard to justify," Mr Donald.

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