The Government’s Criminal Justice Summit has cost taxpayers $1.5 million dollars, an amount that could continue to increase, National’s Justice Spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“When I first asked Justice Minister Andrew Little how much he expected the Summit to cost, he estimated it would be $700,000. Instead, the two day talk-fest blew out to more than double that. It was attended by six hundred people, which means it cost $2,500 per person.

That’s an impressive total each for two days in Porirua. Why could it not have been done by video conferencing over the web? And did it achieve anything apart from enrich hoteliers and the caterer? Unlikely, according to this article which begins:

Journalist Aaron Smale went along to the Criminal Justice Summit hosted in Porirua last week, and discovered one crucial missing voice.

“All those people are looking at me like I shouldn’t be here.” It was a comment made in a whisper but it spoke volumes.

Sam* did stand out in this particular crowd. With full moko kanohi he didn’t exactly blend in with the policy wonks, government officials, academics and NGO workers who gathered in Porirua. For a start, most of them were Pākehā.

‘Those people’ were bedecked in the Wellington power suits and trailing in the wake of ministers.