“The public service needs a reality check. Taxpayers aren’t an ATM for welcoming and farewelling bureaucrats and ACT would pull them into line,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Post reports that the Department of Internal Affairs spent more than $17,000 welcoming its new Deputy Chief Executive, with more than $7,500 going to a catering company. That’s not bread and butter that’s luxury canapes and nice wine.

“To the bureaucrats spending your money it’s chump change, but in real terms it is the equivalent of 1.3 years income tax from the median earner. All spent on a welcome for someone already earning a salary that dwarves most Kiwis.

“If a public sector Deputy Chief Executive has more than $17,000, courtesy of the taxpayer, spent on a welcome pōwhiri, how are they then seriously expected to impose careful spending once they’re in the role?

“The culture of extravagance in the public service needs to end. It needs a reminder that the money it is spending has been taken from hard-working New Zealanders, if it’s not spending it on providing public services then taxpayers should be allowed to keep more of it. That’s what ACT would do with our fully-costed tax package.

“The Public Service Commission says that it is up to Chief Executives to follow official guidance on spending, ensuring it is “moderate and conservative”. But when the Deputy Chief Executive has had a welcome party that well and truly blows the budget, they’re unlikely to turn around and start telling everyone else in their department to trim their sails.

“The public service needs to get back to basics, serving the public. That’s what people pay taxes for, not grandiose pōwhiri’s and leaving parties.

“ACT is committed to creating a more efficient and effective public service. With specific KPIs, annual output reports, and performance-based pay, we expect the public service will start thinking about how it is serving taxpayers again, rather than itself.”


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