20 May 2012

Public sector consultant use out of hand - Labour

8:38 am on 20 May 2012

The Labour Party says the Government has overseen a blowout in the use of consultants in the public service.

Labour has looked at the financial reviews of government departments and says spending on consultants and contractors has risen from an annual $336 million five years ago to $525 million last year.

Labour's state services spokesperson Chris Hipkins says the Government's supposed drive for more efficiency has failed miserably.

He says a lot of those consultants are former public servants and are not bringing in an external, business perspective which would be expected.

"They're actually just the same people doing the same work, but being paid higher rates."

Mr Hipkins says the consultancy culture is so out of hand that the Treasury even hired a consultant to review the use of consultants.

But Finance Minister Bill English has said that since 2008 there has been only a 6.4% the increase in the cost of consultants, less than the rate of inflation for the period.