New Zealand Labour Party

A rose is a rose, is a big bill

Government departments have splurged $600,000-plus over the last three years on flowers to brighten up offices and bouquets to thank and farewell staff and visitors, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says.

Figures obtained by Labour show $603,349 has been spent on floral arrangements, bouquets, cut flowers and florists’ services since 2012/13.

“The Ministry of Social Development racked up the biggest bill - $136,040 – but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade takes the cake for the cost per staff member – $39.01 ($91,039.97 all up) –with Te Puni Kokiri in second place, at $23.33 per person.

“When we have sectors of society struggling and the Government warning of continued financial belt-tightening there is no excuse for splashing out on nice-to-haves and unnecessary extravagances.

“Once again we have an example of double standards, and of wasteful spending. At the same time we have mental health services and regional police offices closing down because they can’t get funding, taxpayers’ cash is being made available for floral arrangements.

“The Government surely needs to rethink its priorities,” Kris Faafoi says.