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The income tax of four minimum wage earners for a full year was spent on setting up three tables at the Government’s $1.6 million Criminal Justice Summit, National’s Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“The breakdown shows that $20,278 was spent on ‘setting up and dismantling the registration desks at three locations in the lead up to the summit.’

“How on earth can it cost $20,278 to set up three desks? I’ve called and checked with the venue and they would have provided tables for free. If they really needed to be hired, trestle tables are available for as little as $10 each.

“The cost of hiring the venue and setting it up came to a total of $50,000. The breakdown of that specifically states ‘installing tables and chairs’. I can’t work out why that didn’t include registration desks, or why it cost almost half as much as the total venue hire to set up and dismantle three desks.

“It’s especially extraordinary given the Justice Summit has done nothing to address reducing crime or stopping victims being harmed in the first place.  

“The two day Summit was originally estimated to cost $700k. Instead it blew out to more than twice that amount, with around a million dollars alone spent on consultants.

“Justice Minister Andrew Little needs to explain to taxpayers how he’s managed to spend $20,278 on setting up three tables. This Government seems determined to spend taxpayers’ dollars as liberally and as irresponsibly as it can.

“Rent and petrol have increased under this Government. The Government has spent $2.8 billion on free tertiary education which hasn’t done anything to increase enrollments.

“The fact that the Government thinks it’s alright to spend $20,278 on ‘setting up and dismantling the registration desks’ is a slap in the face to hardworking Kiwis.” 

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