Taxpayers paying for Clark hagiography VIP parties

Stuff reports:

Cocktail parties and wine-fuelled film screenings to promote a Helen Clark documentary to foreign VIPs have cost taxpayers more than $33,000.

Embassies around the world have been hosting events with the former PM to show off My Year With Helen, a fly-on-the-wall film about her failed bid for the top job at the United Nations.

The hospitality bill comes on top of the $870, 000 taxpayer-funded NZ on Air and the Film Commission contributed to make the film.

I don’t have an issue with the film subsidy. But I do have an issue with tens of thousands of dollars going on VIP parties for it.

And it’s understood the bill, and number of staff hours put into organising the events has raised eyebrows at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Fourteen NZ embassies have hosted, or were involved, in the events. Clark attended receptions in Turkey, Japan, Canada and Washington DC. Film-maker Gaylene Preston was also flown to Ankara and Istanbul for an appearance. 

The $33,000 won’t include staff time.

But embassies also had to pay a screening fee of just over $1000 to show the movie.

Outrageous. Taxpayers give $900,000 to fund the production of the movie, and then another $1,000 per embassy screening.

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