The Ministry of Social Development spent $1 million dollars of taxpayers’ money on a series of online meetings which only 126 people attended, the National Party’s Social Development and Employment spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“The cost of $6,626 per person to login to an online meeting speaks to a culture of waste and contempt for taxpayers’ hard earned money.

“It is unclear why the Ministry of Social Development could not simply have utilised free online platforms.  

“Even more baffling is the Ministry of Social Development was recruiting its own staff in the first online meeting.

“Despite staff shortages hampering the potential of businesses across New Zealand, growing Wellington’s bureaucracy was Labour’s priority.

“With 176,000 people on the unemployment benefit, this Labour Government should be grappling with the root causes of benefit dependency, not spraying money at ‘job expos’ which amount to nothing more than an online meeting.

“Greater accountability is needed to ensure expenditure on employment initiatives are actually targeted at moving people off the benefit into available jobs. Simply throwing money at a problem is not going to solve it.

“Labour need to get serious about moving people off benefit and into work and stop the wasteful spending that isn’t getting outcomes for New Zealanders.”