Independent MP Brendan Horan has accused the Ministry of Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri, of blowing the budget on contractors and consultants.
Mr Horan said the ministry has paid out $9.5 million in the last financial year to contractors and consultants.
Mr Horan said more than 130 businesses, organisations and people benefited from what he calls the largesse and complains that staffing levels at Te Puni Kokiri are about 15% below what they should be. He said contractors and consultants are doing basic duties, such as administration, report writing, and staff cover.
Mr Horan also says strategic leadership is not something that should be bought from outsiders who have no long-term involvement with the ministry.
He said he suspects the work being done is light on substance, and attacked jargon used by the contractors, such as 'culturally anchored' and 'whanau navigators'. He said he almost needs a translator to turn it into English or Maori.
However, the ministry's chief executive, Michelle Hippolite, said every government department brings in external expertise from time to time.
Ms Hippolite said she is confident that the ministry is making the best use of its resources and has the appropriate mix of staff and consultants.
Te Puni Kokiri recently explained to the Maori Affairs select committee why its staffing numbers had dropped. Officials said it had been holding off from filling 56 jobs, while a review of the department was carried out - an assessment which is now complete.
Brendan Horan has detailed the value of some of the contract and consultancy services from papers sent to him as a member of the committee.
Careering Options receives $1,633,805 split over 11 contracts across two-and-a-half years for project management services, project co-ordination services, report writing, administration services, review services, and human resources cover.
Te Runanga o Te Rarawa receives $896,167 split over five contracts across three years for Whanau Ora action research and research services.
PricewaterhouseCoopers receives $864,612.00 split over 11 contracts for advisory services and research services, project management services, analysis services, communication services, and transition planning services. Four of the contracts were for exactly $99,000, and another three were for between $80,000 and $90,000.
Dakoda Visions receives $331,500 over 15 months for 'strategic leadership services'.