The head of the Solomon Islands political unit has rejected opposition criticism of his section, saying virtually the same number of people were employed under the previous administration.
The opposition has questioned why the government has been paying 17 political appointees at a cost of nearly 400,000 US dollars in salaries.
The head of the unit, Dr Judson Leafasia, says those in the section are appointed by all the parties who make up the coalition.
But he admits they do not go throught he same employment process as other government jobs:
"Different from getting a job in the public service or any other private department."
Dr Leafasia says he does not have the figures to compare the cost of the current unit to that run under the previous administration.
But he says the opposition should not have revealed details of individual salaries as that is private information.