The Herald reports:
Justice Minister Andrew Little is standing by the $1.5 million cost of last month’s criminal justice summit despite a budget blowout which has been criticised by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The final cost of the summit which brought together 600-700 people in Porirua to discuss the justice system and its future direction was more than double the $700,000 Little originally estimated it would cost.
Ardern was asked about the budget blowout by reporters today.
“My expectation is that when we set a budget, we stick to it,” she said.
They spent $1.5 million on a talkfest that achieved nothing?
And no way should a conference end up double the budget. I’ve organised a dozen or so conferences.
But Little defended the cost.
“I’m totally satisfied with the cost of the summit. It was a two-day summit. It was several hundred people. It takes a lot to put that together and to run it in a way that makes sure all the voices are heard.”
Told that Ardern had criticised the budget over-run, Little said: “I stand by what the justice summit has achieved. It’s done some good things.
So the PM and Justice Minister can’t even agree. Not that this in itself is a big issue, but it just shows that there is no co-ordinating happening. If they can’t even run their own Ministry well, how can they run the rest of the country?
He said the food for the summit’s attendees included a “decadent gluten-free chocolate brownie, pork, apricot and thyme pastries, four different kinds of croissants, luxury pies and chicken and cranberry casserole”.
Shouldn’t the summit have been catered for by a prison? 🙂