Examples (GST excluded) include:
- $5212 on 188 visits to the Beer & Burger Joint, downstairs from Callaghan’s Auckland office
- $4298 on lunches and dinners at Marvel Bar and Grill
- $3290 at Mojo coffeehouses
- $2063 on a team dinner at a drag queen cabaret bar (K Road’s Caluzzi)
- $1719 on lunches and dinners at The George Hotel
- $1225 on dinners for staff and clients at Da Vinci’s Italian restaurant
- $1,134 on one dinner with clients at Dunedin’s No. 7 Balmac
- $869 at a dinner the Kiwifruit Innovation Symposium & Hayward Medal Dinner hosted by Zespri
- $861 at Empire Tavern on a staff induction dinner
- $817 on dinner for ‘customers’ at Grand Century Chinese
- $769 on a lunch and team building function at The Conservatory
- $508 (GST included) on a dinner for seven at Dockside, including $201 of wine (40% of the bill), plus a $50 tip.
"Much of this spending is justified as entertaining 'clients' – but that’s absurd considering this agency’s ‘clients’ are actually businesses receiving Callaghan’s taxpayer-funded handouts. These ‘clients’ are already getting taxpayer pork; boozy dinners and latte lunches are just the gravy on top.""One dinner at Wellington’s Dockside came with a $50 tip. Tipping is rare in New Zealand, it’s something you do to flaunt your wealth. So why are bureaucrats tipping with public money?""Callaghan staff are trying to ingratiate themselves with the corporate culture of the businesses they give money to. That would be fine if they were using their own wages, but instead they’re using taxpayer-funded credit cards."Callaghan's travel costs also ballooningThe Taxpayers' Union has also learned that over $1 million was spent on domestic airfares, and over $400,000 on international airfares in 2015/16.
Taxpayers' Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, "Divided by 384 staff (as per their 2016 Annual Report), that’s $2,641 in domestic airfares and $1,079 international per staffer – $3,720 per staffer all up. This figure seems extraordinarily high. It's enough money to fly every staffer to London and back, twice, in one year."
"Where on earth is Callaghan flying? They already have teams based in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch."
"The international travel spend is just as bad. Callaghan only operates in New Zealand, but still spent $414,000 on overseas airfares in just a year."
"We suspect part of this travel expenditure is for ‘customers’, i.e. businesses applying for grants. This is absurd – these businesses are receiving taxpayer money, now we discover we also pay for their flights, accommodation, wining and dining."
| A TaxpayersUnion release || February 4, 2018 |||