Small agency clocks up big travel bill

Staff of a 69-strong quango have racked up sky-high bills jet-setting overseas to attend international events, while income from the sector it services has dropped 37 per cent over the same period, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says.

Figures obtained by Labour show taxpayers forked out close to a million dollars over the last three years on overseas travel ($412,186), accommodation ($260.634) and events and functions ($248,528) for NZ Petroleum and Minerals staff.

“A certain amount of this spending can probably be justified, but it does seem rather an excessive amount for a department with fewer than 70 employees.

“Ironically, at the same time this wasteful spending is going on at NZPM, the revenue New Zealand receives from petroleum and mineral exploration royalties is falling, with just $220 million expected in the current financial year, down from $360 million in 2010/11.

“The Government can talk as much as it likes about being transparent and prudent. In this instance it is not at all clear taxpayers are getting their money's worth from this on-going international jet-setting,” Kris Faafoi says.