Final breakdown of $1.6 million bill for Government's Justice Summit labelled 'talkfest' by National, is released

Source: 1News

The final cost breakdown of the Government's Justice Summit has been released, with the final figure hitting $1,625,360. 

The Government faced criticism over the cost of its Justice Summit held in August, aimed at overhauling the country's prison system, which racked up more than twice the amount budgeted.

The two-day summit boasted about 600 attendees and was supposed to cost $700,000.

Of the $1.6 million spent:

- $220,211 went on venue audio visual costs

- $26,592 went to the costs of Masters of Ceremony

- $228,889 to PWC to work with justice sector official to design the summit

- $515,492 went to ThinkPlace to work on "project initiation and planning and developing the scope of the Summit". 

National's Mark Mitchell called it "wasteful spending of taxpayers' dollars" that "failed to properly hear from victims or Māori". 

"The cost would be easier for taxpayers to swallow if they were getting value for money, but the Summit was a talkfest that had no clear objectives and has shown no outcomes," Mr Mitchell said.

In September, Justice Minister Andrew Little defended the summit and the cost.

"You do the best of what you know at the time. And then the more you get into it and do the detailed planning, sometimes you find it costed a little more than expected," he said. 

"It does cost a bit when you're drawing on people, including people who haven't been heard for many, many years".

Government's Justice Advisory Group member Jarrod Gilbert said the cost of the summit pales in comparison to the price of keeping people in prison.

"Frankly when we're starting to bicker about catering, we're getting a bit petty," he said.