New minister pulls plug on costly summit

NZ Herald Dec 10, 2008

A $200,000 Families Commission “summit” due to be held in February has been axed after Social Development Minister Paula Bennett declared it a waste of money. The commission yesterday cancelled its February summit for 150 people at Waipuna Lodge after Ms Bennett said the price tag was inappropriate in the current economic times. The summit was approved by former Labour social development minister Ruth Dyson. But Ms Bennett said she was surprised the commission had continued with plans for the conference after the change of government and National’s repeated warnings that it wanted careful spending of public money.

The “Making New Zealand the Best Place for Families” summit was to have been held at Waipuna Lodge in Mt Wellington over two days. People invited to attend it would have paid for their own travel and accommodation. They included Warehouse creator Stephen Tindall, Business NZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly, Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly and the Family Court’s head judge, Andrew Boshier, as well as government department heads and the chief executives of Plunket and Barnardos. Its agenda included “financial stability”, “supporting family relationships” and “creating a thriving environment for families”.

LISTEN to Bob McCoskrie commenting on this issue on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint 12 December 2008