New Zealand Labour Party

Do as I say, not as I do at Treasury

Treasury – the department responsible for preaching fiscal prudence – has breached its staff cap by 64 full time equivalent staff and now pays almost 50 people over $180,000, Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

Figures from Treasury’s annual review show the department needs to put its own house in order before lecturing New Zealanders and other departments about spending restraint.

“Bill English has told the public service it has to ‘do more with less’ but Treasury now claims it is spending more money because it is ‘being asked to do more’.

“It’s time to take a long look in the mirror. Bill English has told New Zealanders they need to tighten their belts for seven years but meanwhile salaries and staff in his own department have ballooned.

“Treasury is supposed to have a public service cap of 390 full-time equivalent staff. It’s exceeded that this year by 64 FTEs. There is no point in an arbitrary cap if it’s going to be breached.

“The department that preaches belt-tightening now has 47 staff on $180,000 – an increase of 20 in four years. There are now almost 250 staff earning over $100,000.

"Despite issuing almost half the number of press releases last year than the year before, the communications unit has had an increase of $48,000. It now costs $27,500 per press release issued by Treasury, compared to around $11,000 four years ago.

“Treasury has almost doubled the amount of money it spends on staff who are located in Ministers offices. Last year it spent $550,000 on six secondments to Ministers’ offices, compared to $288,000 three years ago. That looks like a lot of taxpayers’ money going into political damage control.

“Government spending is getting out of control with money being thrown at hair straighteners, sun decks, flowers and giant TV screens. After years of preaching restraint taxpayer will find this hypocrisy is galling,” Grant Robertson said.