Phil Heatley MP National Party Housing Spokesman
27 May 2008
94 bureaucrats get two days at luxury resort
National Party Housing spokesman Phil Heatley has revealed 94 Housing New Zealand managers spent two days at a
conference at the luxury Tongariro Lodge.
"The total cost of the two-day staff meeting was just short of $70,000 and included $5,000 in miscellaneous expenses,
and $12,000 in travel costs.
"When there are 10,000 struggling families queued up on the HNZ waiting list, this is an appalling message for Housing
New Zealand to send. What were they thinking?"
On its website the Tongariro Lodge boasts 'an international reputation for fine food and wine' and 'specialises in
serving the best of New Zealand game and traditional foods'."
The Tongariro Lodge is 'nestled on 22 acres of secluded grounds' where 'a secluded spa and all weather tennis court are
provided'. It is an 'internationally famous fly fishing lodge', complete with 'executive riverside cottages' overlooking
the Tongariro River.
"At a time when households are tightening their belts, taxpayers will question the priorities of an organisation that
sends 94 managers to a luxury resort for a couple of days."
Mr Heatley says answers to written questions reveal the purpose of the talkfest retreat was to 'promote consistent
delivery strategies', 'a stronger customer service focus', 'to critically review processes, measure progress, and
enhance ... capability and delivery mechanisms'.
"New Zealanders expect Housing New Zealand to review their processes to make sure they're getting things right - but at
a luxury resort?
"Housing Minister Maryan Street should say whether there were any cheaper options available."