New Zealand Labour Party

MSD going down wasteful spending track

The Ministry of Social Development is paying big salaries and forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars on management courses while at the same time looking to hand some services over to a multinational outsourcing company with an appalling track record, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

“Fifty three MSD staff are on annual salaries of over $200,000. That is more than double the number (25) who were receiving a similar amount five years ago.

“Just as bad, the department’s spend on leadership workshops has climbed to an astonishing $780,601, up from a far more modest $137,155 last year.  

“That it is also looking to contract outsourcing giant Serco to manage some community services, ostensibly to save money, is laughable.

“There is something deeply offensive about MSD paying such high salaries and handing over taxpayer money for the people who get those salaries to be taught how to do their jobs.

“This is the same department that not only demands belt-tightening from everyone else but also forces some clients to take lessons to better manage their budgets.

“Having Serco lined up as a possible ‘investment strategy’ partner only highlights the double standards we’ve come to expect from this Government.

“Serco is hardly a world leader in good management. It has been accused of mismanagement, lying and charging for non-existent work in the UK and has a poor track record here where it is contracted to run Mt Eden prison which has the highest prisoner on prisoner assaults in the country.

“Steven Joyce has spent the last few weeks trying to defend wasteful spending at MoBIE. If Social Development Minister Anne Tolley wants to avoid a similar tag she needs to have a serious think about the future direction of her department,” Carmel Sepuloni said.