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Over half a million dollars was spent on the shortest-lived ministry of recent times for a flash fit-out and branding that included 180 punnets of promotional putty.
Labour Leader David Shearer says the money spent on creating the Ministry of Science and Innovation, that lasted just 18 months, is incredibly wasteful at a time when the government is laying off frontline staff and cutting services.
“The Ministry of Science and Innovation spent $420,000 on branding and a website, including almost $70,000 on a visual identity, $27,000 on a logo, $20,000 on stationery, $16,000 on signs and $1,000 on promotional putty. All for an 18-month ministry.
“All those pens, signs, posters and putty punnets have may as well have been chucked into a rubbish skip behind Steven Joyce’s pet project MoBIE. An astonishing waste.”
Labour’s research reveals Treasury recommended in 2010 that the two agencies that formed MSI should instead be merged into the Ministry of Economic Development. National ignored the advice but months later changed its mind and announced the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, incorporating MSI and MED and other agencies.
David Shearer says: “The Government’s supposed public service reform is an incoherent ego trip for ministers. First Wayne Mapp wanted a stand-alone science ministry. But it was a case of new minister, new ministry as Steven Joyce came in and created his MoBIE empire.
“MSI now stands for Ministry of Silly Integrations. For over two years science and innovation officials have been in one merger or another. The plain fact is that mergers stall policy development and that’s why there hasn’t been an innovation policy to speak of from this government.”