Ministry of Justice lip-sync video cost taxpayers $23k

Staff are shown lip-syncing to Justin Timberlake's song Can't Stop the Feeling.
Staff are shown lip-syncing to Justin Timberlake's song Can't Stop the Feeling.

The Justice Ministry spent $23,000 for a production company to interview its staff on leadership and record a video in which staff lip-sync and dance in a conga line to a Justin Timberlake song.

Documents provided under the Official Information Act state the recordings were shown at a staff conference in October.

Before the conference the ministry paid Sauce Films Limited to create five videos, which showed staff being interviewed about leadership in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

In a letter obtained by the Herald, deputy secretary for corporate affairs Suzanne Stew said the ministry decided to also film a music video.

It was a way to "celebrate their connection in an upbeat and informal way", she said.

"The video was played at the Leaders' Forum and then shared with everyone in the Ministry through the Ministry's intranet. It was received in the spirit in which it was made - as an opportunity to engage with colleagues from around the country in a positive way."

The lip-sync video was shown at the conference. The ministry declined to release the video as staff participated without agreeing to it being publicly released.

It features Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop the Feeling and was filmed at the ministry's head office.

According to RNZ, the video also features court security dancing in courtrooms, and staff forming a conga line and dancing through offices.

Justice Ministry chief executive Andrew Bridgman features in the video dancing and lip-syncing in his office.

When asked if the videos were a waste of money, Justice Minister Amy Adams said "the chief executive will have to reflect on [that] and decide whether he thinks it was good value for money".

"I haven't seen the breakdown between how much was spent on the five videos and the impact of them. The chief executive will have to reflect on that and be prepared to answer for it."

Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams said the video should be made public.

"Taxpayers paid for the video, they should be able to see it," he said.

He said that a refusal to release the video was to protect the "embarrassment of wasting $23,000 on a shoddy Justin Timberlake impersonation".

- NZ Herald

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