Labour has spent almost $300m on spin doctors

While the number of broken promises that the Government has made to New Zealanders adds up, so too does the amount it is spending on communications staff, National’s Public Service spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

Under Labour, the wage bill for communications staff in the public sector has increased by 51.12 per cent from $57 million in 2016/17 to a bloated $88.7 million for the 2020/21 year.

Mr Mitchell says that despite spending $300 million since 2017 on communications staff to spin its policies Labour has utterly failed to deliver on them.

“COVID-19 can’t be used as an excuse either. Even when staff working on the pandemic messaging are excluded Labour has still spent $86 million in the last year on public relations staff.

“The worst offender is NZTA. An extra $5.6 million has been pumped into the department increasing the communications team from 32 staff to a whopping 68.

“Labour might see more of its transport promises started, even completed, if it spent as much money on delivery as it is on spinning the failure.

“The Deputy Prime Minister isn’t being particularly frugal in his portfolios either. Sports NZ has increased from five staff to 10 and now have more spin doctors than Treasury, the agency tasked with managing the Government’s finances.

“Even a department like Land Information NZ hasn’t been spared with the number of communications staff on its books doubling in the last four years.

“While the Government has spent up large on spin doctors, our teachers, nurses and police officers who worked tirelessly during the pandemic have had their pay frozen.

“Rather than focusing on how to sell a message, Labour should be spending as much time and energy on actually delivering its promises.

“KiwiBuild is still a failure. Light Rail still hasn’t left the station. There are still 4000 children living in motels. Kids aren’t turning up to school. There has been barely any progress on the new inpatient mental health facilities.

“These are the issues New Zealanders care about and want the Government to act on.

“Instead of spending quarter of a billion dollars making itself sound good, the Government should be making sure it delivers on its commitments in the first place.”