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Bill In A Bit Of A Buddle

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard told Parliament today that two-thirds of payments made this year to the law firm Buddle Findlay related to work started by the previous National-led administration.

"Of the $933,000 paid to Buddle Findlay, two thirds of this was spending put in train prior to December 1999, when the Labour-Alliance coalition became government," Trevor Mallard said.

"I was very surprised to see that Bill English was attacking a firm which his government regarded as a leader in its field – especially when his spending on consultants was profligate and this government has been relatively frugal."

Trevor Mallard said a further irony was that the questions Bill English had used as his dodgy ammunition were asked by former Housing Minister Murray McCully.

"Yet of the $312,000 of work for Housing New Zealand in the last year, $303,000 related to contracts let under the National Government.

"I’m not surprised that Murray McCully gave the bullets to Bill English, but I understand Jim Bolger’s message to Bill English is not to use McCully as a numbers man. This fiasco shows he can’t count."

Trevor Mallard said Bill English showed he was in even more of a muddle given that from July to November last year, when Mr English was Treasurer, Treasury spent a quarter of a million dollars on services from Buddle Finlay.

"Since this government came to power, $53,000 of new work has been commissioned by Treasury from Buddle Findlay. A further $69,000 has been spent on contracts already let by Mr English and his predecessors.

"When asked about the timing of the contracts, no wonder he said: 'I don't think that matters that much'," Trevor Mallard said.

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