New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has given all 500 of its staff a $55 pounamu at a total cost of over $30,000 – in the latest example of extravagant spending involving Steven Joyce agencies, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark.
“The NZTE financial review has revealed that in June 2015, NZTE spent $30,060 on jewellery as gifts for staff.
“It’s a greenstone giveaway that will disturb New Zealander taxpayers – even those already jaded by National’s spending spree on government departments.
“This raises serious questions. How did NZTE think this was a wise use of money? Why on earth would every staff member need a pounamu? Are they obliged to wear it? How big are these pounamu?
“There’s no doubt that NZTE staff are hard-working but jewellery for bureaucrats sets an unfortunate precedent.
“There is a culture of extravagance that runs right through this government. From hair straighteners to giant TV screens, to a stairway to heaven and now free jewellery for staff.
“The common denominator in all of these spend ups is Steven Joyce. He is a minister in MBIE, Education and NZTE. His reputation for profligacy is growing.
“Civil servants who do a good job deserve to get paid well. But I don't think any tax paying Kiwi would imagine their contributions would be best spent on jewellery for every member of staff,” says David Clark.