1 Oct 2010

External consultant costs skyrocket at Treasury

6:48 pm on 1 October 2010

Spending on external consultants has skyrocketed at the Treasury under the National Government.

The Treasury spent almost three times the amount on contractors and consultants in the Government's first full financial year than in Labour's last full financial year in power.

In the year to June 2008, $1,968,000 was spent on external contractors, but in the year to June 2010 that figure almost tripled to $5,542,000.

State Services Minister Tony Ryall says the increase in spending on consultants at the Treasury is consistent with the fact it is working under a new government.

Mr Ryall says Labour was bereft of ideas in what he calls its last, dying year of government and a new government always has new policies to get started.

However, the results of an Official Information Act request by Radio New Zealand to a range of different government agencies show that most spending on consultants has gone down slightly.

It has almost halved at the Ministry of Education and Inland Revenue.

Labour comment

The Labour Party says the amount shows the Treasury is reasserting its dominance over the public sector.

The Treasury says it had significant new responsibilities in the last financial year, including leading work on public sector value for money, dealing with the economic crisis and setting the economic agenda.

But Labour's state services spokesperson Grant Robertson says the figures show the Treasury is exerting a lot of influence.

Mr Robertson says he has been hearing anecdotally that many consultants are being used across the public sector now, which should show up in next year's figures.