“The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has doubled the amount of managers it employs and the taxpayer-funded salaries that come with them since Labour took office,” says ACT Deputy Leader Brooke van Velden.

“Trimming consultants is one thing, but wasteful spending won’t truly be addressed until the Government cracks down on bloated government departments. They’re growing in size and cost but not in what they’re delivering for Kiwis.

“Written Parliamentary Questions show a department that is out of control with bureaucracy. When Labour took office in November 2017 there were 520 managers being paid $70.9m. Fast forward to November 2022 there are 930 managers paid $138.5mm.

“Some business owners might forgive MBIE for the increase if they dealt with the labour shortage that is hammering businesses everywhere. Unfortunately, Immigration NZ within MBIE has contributed to it with slow processing times creating yet another barrier for people entering the country.

“Stuart Nash says in his response that “the COVID-19 response and management of 32 Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities contributed to increased staffing levels”. MIQ facilities wound down almost a year ago, what have all these extra staff been doing since then?

“This is exactly why we need to zero base Government. How many of these extra managers are even performing a public service? Many of them are likely zombie bureaucrats who carry on collecting a paycheque for their own purposes instead of any public purpose.

“If government departments can show the extra public servants have achieved good results for New Zealanders, we would keep them. If not, they’d go.

“I suspect we would see many examples of departments that are costing taxpayers but not delivering anything that is of benefit to them.

“Its clear Government departments aren’t delivering better bang for our buck. They are not faster, the services aren’t better and they are not more transparent.

“Another cycle of National holding the line so Labour can pick up right where it left off last time just won’t do. New Zealand needs real change – that should start with politicians showing a bit of restraint when it comes to spending other people’s money.”

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Brooke van Velden