CERA under fire for wasting taxpayer money on PR

Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Thursday, 11 February 2016, 3:12PM

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is being accused of wasting taxpayers' money on spin doctors, instead of what counts.

Labour says in the last financial year, $1.1 million was spent on internal public relations and $1.6 million on external PR and media agencies.

Taxpayers Union executive director Jordan Williams said this money could be better used elsewhere.

"Every dollar of that 2.7 million that CERA has spent on spin doctors and PR is one less dollar going towards the rebuild in Canterbury, and we say that's not good enough."

However Public Relations Institute NZ President Bruce Fraser said it's hard to imagine CERA is spending exorbitant amounts of money for what it's offering.

"There's a strong expectation from Canterbury people that CERA will deliver good quality information in a whole lot of different ways, and that from what I can see is exactly what CERA is trying to do."

Fraser said it makes more financial sense, with the workload growing, to outsource work rather than hire someone.

CERA is also under fire following one of its own well-being surveys showing almost three in four Cantabrians don't have confidence in its decisions.

But Associate Earthquake Recovery Minister Nicky Wagner says CERA's done a great job and if you look at the early surveys there was a lot of confidence.

"I don't think that reflects a bad opinion, I just think that they're ready to move on. It's as simple as that."

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