Stuff reports:

Christchurch’s former central city rebuild boss has attended a taxpayer-funded management course in France, more than a year after leaving the Government’s recovery organisation.

Warwick Isaacs recently returned from overseas where he completed a four-week Advanced Management Programme at the INSEAD Business School.

It’s understood the course was at the school’s European campus in Fontainebleau, about 70 kilometres south of Paris.

The now-defunct Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) covered the $54,936 course cost. Isaacs left the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) to head up the embattled Stonewood Homes in early 2015. 

That’s an outrageous amount for a four week course for a public servant. It should never have been agreed to.

Information released by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) said Cera paid for the programme in 2014. 

It is not known if Cera covered Isaacs’ flights and other travel expenses. 

Isaacs declined to comment. 

Director of DPMC’s Greater Christchurch Group Kelvan Smith said funding the course was intended to support Isaacs’ career development after Cera was disestablished.

“The development was especially important for an organisation with a short lifespan like Cera,” he said. 

“It was recognised that due to the intense workload for staff, such as Mr Isaacs, and the need to maintain recovery momentum, that development opportunities might have been postponed until a more suitable time.” 

Isaacs had not completed the course when he resigned from the CCDU but the “contractual commitment for the development opportunity remained”, Smith said. 

Employers may fund courses to help employees become better employees. But it is not their job to fund courses to help their career development for their next job. You can only justify paying for a course if it will benefit the company paying. In this case the company is the taxpayers and they got no benefit.

I’m outraged that this was agreed to.

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