Premier House costs

The Herald reported:

The total cost of repairs and security upgrades to the Prime Minister’s official Wellington residence will reach almost $3 million over five years – triple the cost originally given by officials.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) had previously said an upgrade to Premier House would cost $1m – but documents obtained under the Official Information Act (OIA) show the full cost will be almost three times that, with much of the extra due to new security provisions.

I’ve got no problem with us spending money on upgrading Premier House. It is a histroic building that is both home to the Prime Minister but also used for many functions and official entertaining.

The current minister responsible for Ministerial Services, Chris Hipkins, approved the continuation of the upgrade programme on December 21 last year, the documents showed.

Which is the right decision. And note no Opposition MP has criticised this. But a much smaller renovation programme in the past was criticised by an Opposition MP – a Chris Hipkins.

Here’s what he said in 2011:

Prime Minister John Key has batted away criticism over a $275,000 makeover for his Wellington residence – the latest in a string of taxpayer-funded government activities being questioned. 

The renovations for Premier House included a $215,000 painting bill, $55,366 on re-carpeting and more than $3000 on new blinds. 

Labour MP Chris Hipkins said the Premier House makeover reeked of hypocrisy. 

“Every Kiwi family struggling to pay the bills knows that if you can’t afford to pay for dinner, new carpet and curtains for the lounge get pushed a long way down the list,” Mr Hipkins said. 

“Struggling Kiwis simply don’t live in John Key’s world where you can afford to be splashing out on heated seats in brand new BMWs and to jet around the world in military planes. 

It was a nasty little attack in 2011 trying to generate hatred for Key because he was wealthy. I’m glad National in opposition is demonstrating much higher standards than Labour didm when they were in opposition.

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