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Answers needed on High Commissioner’s residence

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Labour Party – Press Release/Statement:

Answers needed on High Commissioner’s residence

Patrick Leyland – http://www.labour.org.nz/news/answers-needed-on-high-commissioner%E2%80%99s-residence

Phil Goff  | 
Friday, May 24, 2013 – 10:50

New Zealand taxpayers should be told why they are having to fork out $7500 a week to pay for alternative premises for the High Commissioner in London while the official residence remains empty, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Phil Goff, says.

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“Foreign Affairs has just been savagely restructured, with staff being made redundant and allowances slashed to save money.

“There will need to be very good reasons why $390,000 a year is being spent on alternative High Commission accommodation. That sum would cover the annual salaries of more than five Ministry staff.

“If there is a justifiable reason why this money is being spent, then Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, should tell us.

“The Clareville Street property is only around a decade old. It would be most unusual if it needed major refurbishment at this point.

“If it is able to be occupied, it should be – at least until any decision is made about its replacement or refurbishment.

“I’m sure the Ministry has better use for the $75,000 extra it has cost in just the last 10 weeks to pay for two premises,” Phil Goff said.

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