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Justice boss defends $23K video series

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/01/2017

Ministry of Justice boss Andrew Bridgman has defended spending $23,000 on six videos including one of staff dancing and lip syncing to a Justin Timberlake song.

The leadership videos, which reportedly include Mr Bridgman dancing at his desk to the pop star's song Can't Stop The Feeling, were filmed by a production company and shown at an internal staff conference last year.

Mr Bridgman told NZ Newswire the videos were created to bring staff together to share their experiences and lessons in leadership and to inspire leaders within his department.

"In that theme, the lip-sync video was designed, in a humorous and entertaining way, to indicate the breadth of work that the ministry does and the people who work here," he said.

"It proved very popular and was well received by everyone who viewed it."

But the video won't be publicly released because the staff from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, only gave permission to be filmed for private use and didn't agree to its public release.

Mr Bridgman said it was important to engage staff and connect with a diverse organisation, something the videos, which averaged $3800 each, helped to achieve.

According to OIA documents released to Radio New Zealand, and obtained by NZ Newswire, the video clip was the idea of the department's corporate deputy secretary Suzanne Stew who said it was a chance for staff to "celebrate their connection in an upbeat and informal way".

"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," she said.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said on Wednesday that she wasn't aware of the decision to make the videos and had not seen them.

Internal staff emails revealed some staff were embarrassed about appearing in the clip while another appeared only to have been told they would participate in the leadership question and answer videos.

"I'm not sure how I feel about being filmed grooving to it in my very uncomfy work clothes," one said of their "most favourite song at the moment".

"There was no mention of dancing and miming haha .... It was a lot of fun but I hope they cut us out lol," another said.

In the other videos staff leaders were asked questions about their most defining experience as leader, when they felt most vulnerable and most proud and about their aspiration for collective leadership.

Other staff were asked what value all leaders should demonstrate.

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