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$2000 A Day To Work From Home For English's Purchase Advisor

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Bill English needs to release in full all details around the contracting of his private purchase advisors, Labours Internal Affairs Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

"Today it was revealed thanks to in-depth questioning by a reporter that his own department hasn't even followed his guidelines when it contracted Graeme Scott to work for him," Chris Hipkins said.

"Serious questions remain unanswered around the process for engaging these purchase advisors. It has been clear for some time that Mr English specified who was to be appointed and how much they are to be paid, an approach that seriously undermines the political neutrality of the public service.

"Now it appears that the Treasury ignored Mr English's requirement for purchase advisors to be appointed on a fixed rate contract. Mr English's own advisor, Graeme Scott, was contracted on a $2,000 daily rate.

"The trail of correspondence between ministers, departments and at least one of the advisors concerned clearly shows there was real confusion around the contracting arrangements for these purchase advisors. In his rush to get his team of spies in place, Mr English and his officials have cut corners and seriously undermined due process.

"Why should the Treasury be treated differently to other departments? If the clandestine arrangements Mr English insisted on are good enough for other departments, why should the Treasury be exempt?

Mr Hipkins said he has already complained to the Ombudsman, the Auditor General and the State Services Commission regarding the purchase advisor arrangements. The Auditor General has indicated he is collecting information on the matter, while the Ombudsman has indicated he will not conduct an inquiry if the Auditor General does. The State Services Commission has not responded.

"It's also clear that John Key's Beehive is costing significantly more to run than under the previous Labour government. We've seen a big blowout in Beehive salaries and now we have the addition of contract advisors earning up to $2,000 a day.

"At a time when New Zealanders are struggling to hold on to their jobs the National government seems quite content to feather its own nest," Chris Hipkins said.

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