Government blows around $16 million on working groups

The Labour party must have been lounging around playing tiddlywinks all those years that they were in opposition because they clearly did not spend that time wisely. If they had been earning their taxpayer-funded fat salaries they would have spent all those long years in opposition coming up with policies.

Instead, they are in power and are kicking can after can down the road and are buying time to create policies by spending millions on so-called working groups. David Seymour has coined the phrase ‘review-itis‘ to describe the increasing costs of these policy-making groups.

Yesterday Peeni Henare announced yet another review, this time for a panel to look at Whanau Ora. (Whanau Ora is a family health initiative driven by Māori cultural values with a core goal to empower communities and extended families (whānau) to support families within the community.)

So far the new government has announced about forty reviews, working groups, or panels. Act leader David Seymour has said that after accounting for fees, flights and accommodation, the average cost of a government review is around $400,000. He also pointed out that Labour is by no means unique in their ‘review-itis’ saying that ‘National has paid lip service to fiscal prudence, but it was no better in government. By one estimate, National launched 87 reviews in the space of two years, at an estimated cost of more than $34 million.’

Seymour has called for the government to exercise restraint. While he acknowledges that reviews can be legitimate in some cases the sheer number of them suggests he says, a lack of intellectual horsepower, underwhelming leadership or an unpreparedness for government.

Whatever the reason these reviews do seem to be a very expensive and wasteful way to run a government.


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