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$1m a month – Merry Christmas Consultants

$1m a month – Merry Christmas, Corrections consultants

Corrections Department consultants will be having a very relaxed Christmas after latest figures show they are heading for an even better year than the lucrative one just gone, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“It looks as though Corrections will be shelling out something close to $1 million a month on consultants in 2007 at the present rate – despite the fact that they are hiring more and more staff.”

Figures from the department’s financial review show that in the first three months of the 2006/07 year, Corrections spent $3,085,382 on consultants, compared to just over $10 million for the whole of 2005/06.

“That’s extraordinary – that’s a million a month. And it’s even more extraordinary when you consider that at the same time, they have been increasing their own staff numbers each year.

“At the end of the 2005/06 year, Corrections had 5,797 staff – an increase of 13% on the previous year and 36% since Labour was elected in 2001/02.

The figures also show that for the 2006/07 year, Corrections has committed to spend $8.9 million on consultants, but that excludes those for whom only hourly or daily rates are provided, including:

• John Hamilton, who is in charge of the prisons construction programme that has blown out by $490 million. To the end of September he had received $2.1 million at a daily rate of $1,852. In 2005/06 alone he was paid $445,410, plus $10,000 for accommodation and travel.

• Stewart Rix, who Corrections have paid $1.3 million at an hourly rate of $1,500 a day to administer the controversial Collaborative Working Arrangement contracting methodology. In 2005/06 alone he was paid $583,466, plus $30,374 for accommodation and travel. Corrections say they cannot give an estimate for 2006/07 because the work is being tendered out – yet he’s been paid a further $95,166 from July to September.

"Some of these guys are pocketing well above what the chief executive and the minister get paid. No wonder this department’s spending continues to run out of control,” says Mr Power.

“Not content with blowing its construction budget by an incredible $490 million, Corrections is also paying more and more to consultants while hiring more fulltime staff.

“These figures will not give the public any reassurance at all that Damien O’Connor is in control of his department.”

Ends

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