More of Steve Joyce’s excesses under the gun – explaining is losing

$600,000 for a web site?

Steven Joyce is justifying the cost of his ministry’s new website.

The senior cabinet minister says it would have cost a lot more to upgrade and maintain the four websites it has replaced.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s new website went live yesterday, and the first media release revealed it cost $599,872 to create it.

Just two months ago MBIE was under fire for putting up a sign outside its new premises that cost $67,000 and spending $140,000 on a curved information screen in the reception area.

The Labour Party and spending watchdog the Taxpayers’ Union have zeroed in on the cost of the new website as more evidence of extravagance.

Mr Joyce has justified the cost in a statement to NZ Newswire.   Read more »


A million dollars for a website? Christchurch City Council have got to be nuts


The Taxpayers’ Union has revealed that the Christchurch City Council has spent more than a million dollars of ratepayers’ money on a flash new website.

The Taxpayers’ Union is labelling Christchurch City Council’s spending of $1.2 million on their new website as irresponsible. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Rather than spending ratepayers’ money on the rebuild effort, Christchurch City Council have splashed out $1.2 million on a website.”    Read more »

Apparently wasting taxpayer money is less important now that the media attention has died down

The Taxpayers’ Union has been jilted by Steve Joyce’s MBIE now that the fuss has died down.

The head of the government department that spent $140,474 on a TV screen, $67,339 on a sign and $5,480 on an arts consultant for its new Wellington offices, has retracted an offer made to the Taxpayers’ Union to meet about the Ministry’s spending. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“After we expressed public concerns last week about the Ministry’s spending, MBIE officials told us that the CEO, David Smol, would be willing to meet and discuss the wasteful spending within the Ministry. Now the media heat has died down, they refuse to talk.”

“We wanted to have a serious meeting away from the media to constructively engage on how the Ministry is spending taxpayers’ money. Instead of keeping their word, the Ministry is once again running from accountability.” Read more »

Here piggy, piggy, piggy – MBIE wins waste award from Taxpayers’ Union


The Taxpayers’ Union have awarded MBIE one of their Government Waste Certificate of Achievement awards for their $140k tv screen.

Porky, the Taxpayers’ Union government waste mascot, this morning visited the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to award a Government Waste Certificate of Achievement to David Smol, the Ministry’s Chief Executive, for the Ministry’s extraordinary lavish office fit out. After some waiting, Mr Smol failed to front, but an MBIE official accepted the award on his behalf.   Read more »

New Zealand’s Silliest Local Government Spending Competition, Ctd


The people of Christchurch have been nominating all sorts of silly spending by their council and Mayor Lianne “Patsy” Dalziel. In the midst of a massive budget shortfall, in the vicinity of $1.2 billion dollars, the Christchurch City Council is making some very silly decisions.

Solar Powered Dunnies at $125,000 a time seem a bit expensive, but they are a lot cheaper than the exceptionally useless piece of art that you can’t even take a dump in.

ElZorrodePlata commented:

And yet they spend $2M on … http://www.mch.govt.nz/news-events/news/fanfare-artwork-be-installed-christchurch

It’s downright ugly and the worst thing is that in the afternoon sun, the spinny thingy’s reflect the sun, so there is quite a bit of real distraction when you are driving.

Read more »

New Zealand’s Silliest Local Government Spending, Ctd

Thanks for all the great entries coming through.

There are some breathtakingly stupid spending decisions, on an industrial scale.

Here is a great nomination from Palmerston North, that world famous cultural outpost. Grant Smith hasn’t been Mayor for long but he can still be held to account for this silly spending.


It would seem councils can spend ‘their’ money on what ever they like in this country.   Read more »

Rapacious Auckland Council wants to spend millions on a new council chamber

The rapacious Len Brown led Auckland Council, who just voted to pick our pockets by another 9.9% per annum wants to spend up to $10 million giving themselves comfy leather seats closer to their offices.

Auckland Council is under fire over plans to build a new chamber just half a kilometre from where the old one is.

The move comes in the same week the mayor and a majority of councillors voted for an average rates increase of 9.9% for households.

Auckland Council has just spent $157 million shifting some of its super city workers to new offices in downtown Auckland but ONE News can reveal that the spending doesn’t end there.

Documents leaked to the Auckland Ratepayer Alliance show plans for a new council chamber on site, saving councillors and staff a four minute, 445 metre walk.

Read more »

Here is another budget saving worth looking at

I don’t agree with much of what Peter Dunne says, and I find him a pompous tosspot at the best of times.

But he has questioned some womble positions being advertised and sledges out the Taxpayers’ Union at the same time.

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne is querying five new staff positions recently advertised by the Parliamentary Service.

The Parliamentary Service is currently advertising for:

– An Organisational Development Manager to join the People and Culture Leadership team

– A Senior Organisational Development Advisor

– A Senior Learning and Development Advisor to build people and organisational capability

– A Talent Manager for the People and Culture Leadership team

– A People and Culture Services Manager.    Read more »


Another billion to prop up Kiwirail

When is enough going to be enough?

Remember when Michael Cullen dropped $695 million dollars into the pockets of Toll Holdings in what he described as the deal of the century. It is rumoured that the anniversary of the deal is celebrated still by directors of Toll Holdings, such was the awesomeness of the deal for them.

It hasn’t proved to be the deal of the century for the government though, with National having to bail out Kiwirail twice already and now set to pump another billion dollars into what surely must actually be a failed business.

The government is looking at having to pump another billion dollars into KiwiRail over the next four years, Finance Minister Bill English says.

This is on top of the $1 billion the government has already invested in keeping the business going over the last five years, Mr English told a business audience in Wellington this week.

He referred to the long standing difficulties of operating a railway business in New Zealand of a long narrow country, difficult terrain and thin freight and passenger volumes compared with other countries.

“You have to ask which parts of the business make sense,” he said    Read more »


Auckland Council wasting rates on fashion and make-up advice to back office staff

The Taxpayers Union has busted Len Brown’s Auckland Council spending on fashion and make-up advice.

It is small beer but shows the profligate waste going on inside Auckland Council.

The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that Auckland ratepayers have paid for an external image consultant to provide ‘Brand Me’ training to back-office accounting staff inside the Auckland Council.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: “While the Council is cutting services and library hours it is spending money on fashion and make-up advice for its back office accounting staff.”

It is a sad irony that the very people whose job it is to keep a lid on Auckland Council’s spending are those wasting money getting ratepayer-funded hair and make-up advice.

“Image consultants Fox & Mae were contracted to run ‘Brand Me’ courses designed to assist with grooming, lifting the dress standard and help accounts staff understand the meaning of casual Friday.”

Mr Williams says, “Image consultants are to help celebrities and the rich dress well. From a ratepayers’ perspective this is about as helpful as funding tango lessons for the Mayor.”

Fox & Mae charged ratepayers $3,561.25 for the two training sessions and the Council’s response to the Taxpayers’ Union official information request has been posted on the Union’s website.

How do contracts like this even get let?

Was this a mates deal, nudge, nudge, wink, wink?

Is this what we pay rates for? Back office staff learning how to do their make-up.