29 Feb 2012

NZ opposition queries high commission refurbishment in Niue

4:06 pm on 29 February 2012

The New Zealand foreign minister has denied claims the Government is planning to spend a million dollars refurbishing the High Commissioner's residence in Niue, while slashing jobs at his ministry.

Proposed changes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, announced last week, include the likely loss of 305 jobs, including more than 60 in policy and diplomatic posts.

In Parliament, the opposition's Phil Goff questioned if the ministry should be spending money refurbishing the residence of former National Party MP, Mark Blumsky.

The foreign minister, Murray McCully, says there was a recommendation to refurbish the High Commissioner's residence.

"This matter was drawn to my attention by High Commissioner Blumsky, who told me it was barking mad. I agreed with that assessment and told the chief executive for that sort of reason, there should be no non-essential capital works in an environment where staffing losses were under discussion."

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully.