An Australian company was paid $1 million to work out the future cost of the New Zealand welfare system, parliament has been told.
Labour's social development spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern said actuary company Taylor Fry was commissioned "at a cost of up to $1m" to do the work, although a government department delivered a future liability report 18 months ago.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English didn't dispute the figure and defended using the company.
"The Ministry of Social Development doesn't have the sort of expertise to carry out what the government wanted," he said.
"We are using experts... Taylor Fry provided ministers with a wide range of information and advice."