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Government lines its own pockets at our expense

4 October 2009  Media Statement        

Government lines its own pockets at taxpayers’ expense 

Government Ministers are hiding how much they are spending on staff while expecting average New Zealanders to tighten their belts, Labour Internal Affairs spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

The latest figures obtained under the Official Information Act by Mr Hipkins show that as of June this year there were 161 staff employed in the Beehive at a cost of $13,008,803, including 39 staff earning over $100,000.

However, this figure does not include the money spent on contracting temporary communications staff or the significant amounts spent on hiring private purchase advisors for Ministers.

“The National government’s rhetoric about financial restraint while it lines its own pockets is a slap in the face to average kiwis struggling during tough economic times,” Mr Hipkins said.

“Earlier in the year it was revealed that six private purchase advisors had been contracted by the Government at a cost of up to $2000 a day. These advisors answered only to Ministers yet their salaries were paid for by Government departments in a smoke and mirrors exercise to cover up their true cost.

“In addition, over $165,000 has also been spent on temporary communications staff since November 2008.

“It is a bit rich for Bill English and the government to ask everybody else to tighten their belts while refusing to do so themselves,” said Mr Hipkins.

“This government had already made public that they had more than doubled the number of Beehive staff earning over $100,000. Almost a quarter of their staff now falls within that category.

“The previous Labour-led government had 162 Beehive staff costing $13,319, 768 in June last year, with 16 staff earning over $100,000.

“When you factor in the extra money the government has spent on purchase advisors and communications consultants it becomes quite clear they are spending more on staffing the Beehive that Labour did.

“This is yet another example of the National Party looking for loopholes to feather its own nest at the taxpayers’ expense,” Mr Hipkins said.

ends

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