Spin doctor hiring spree at NZTA out of control

The Government has been on a spin doctor hiring spree, with the number of communications staff at NZTA more than doubling in four years, National’s Transport spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“Labour is all spin and no delivery. They can’t get things done so they rely on spin doctors to try to cover up their failures in transport, wasting taxpayer money on doubling NZTA’s comms team rather than upgrading roads.

“The number of comms staff at NZTA has ballooned to the equivalent of 88 full-time staff in 2020/21, up from just over 32 full-time staff in 2016/17.

“The amount of money being spent on these spin doctors is eye-watering. Comms staff earning over $100,000 a year has increased almost 10-fold under Labour, from the equivalent of 6.6 full-time staff to almost 65.

“It doesn’t end there. Despite more than doubling the number of full-time comms staff, the Government is billing taxpayers over $75 million a year for consultants. That’s up from $31 million in 2016/17.

“In fact, NZTA spent almost as much on consultants as on construction for the NZ Upgrade Programme between 2019 and March 2022. During that time, $145 million was spent on consultants compared to $202 million on construction.  

“Labour has created a culture that is tolerant of wasteful spending. This is taxpayer money that would be better spent on building better roads and upgrading our transport infrastructure.

“The Government needs to explain why spin is being prioritised over delivery.

“Taxpayers deserve a Government that is focused on delivering transport outcomes, instead of delivering spin about why they can’t get things done.”