Moving bureaucrats to regions 'just makes sense' - Winston Peters

Winston Peters (Newshub. / file)
Winston Peters (Newshub. / file)

Bureaucracy is coming to a town near you - that's if Winston Peters gets his way.

The New Zealand First leader wants to shift government departments to the regions.

"It just makes sense to spread what is paid for by the taxpayer around all the taxpayers of this country, and not just in some major cities," he says.

Mr Peters said departments like Inland Revenue and some education departments could be shipped out.

"There are certain areas where serious computerisation staff could be moved to any part of this country frankly, we should not have them all focused in Wellington and Auckland at the expense of the regions."

Mr Peters says the benefits are twofold - while regional centres will get a big economic boost, those public servants who move can enjoy lower living costs.

"For many of them who are young they'll be able to buy a house in the regions - they can't buy a house in Auckland  and many of them won't be able to buy a house in Wellington the way things are going."

Plus there's the saving to the taxpayer. Recent renovation jobs at ministries based in Wellington came with multimillion dollar price tags.

The taxpayer-funded renovation job at the Ministry of Education last year came in at a cool $19.5 million - including a $2.5 million staircase dubbed the 'Stairway to Heaven'.

Then there were the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment renovations - a $15 million job that even included hair straighteners in the bathrooms.

Mr Peters says those enormous costs could have been avoided.

"You're putting your finger on the evidence why we should've gone for the regional option in the first place, instead of wasting taxpayers' money."