7 Mar 2012

Labour releases more documents on MFAT proposals

8:29 am on 7 March 2012

The Labour Party says it has proof of plans to halve the number of staff at the New Zealand embassy in Cairo as part of cuts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The embassy has been providing support to New Zealand woman Mihi Puriri who is involved in a custody dispute in Algeria.

In Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Labour leader David Shearer tabled a document setting out a proposal to reduce the number of MFAT staff in Cairo from 16 to eight.

Mr Shearer says that would include disestablishing the job of the consul, Barbara Welton, who has helped Ms Puriri.

Prime Minister John Key says no final decisions have been made on the restructuring.

Labour has also released documents it says shows the ministry is trying to find savings of $40 million a year.

Speaking on behalf of the Foreign Affairs Minister in Parliament on Tuesday, , Chris Finlayson denied the Government is requiring annual savings of $40 million.

Labour's foreign affairs spokesperson, Phil Goff, says the savings target was blanked out in a ministerial briefing paper made public last year, but says a ministry staffer has since released the uncensored document.