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Former NZQA Boss Promises To Disclose All

Dr Douglas Blackmur - the former CEO of the NZQA at the centre of a row over a golden handshake - has offered to waive his privacy rights and allow every item of expenditure on his credit card to be disclosed and debated in the media.

Speaking on National Radio this morning, he refused to disclose the level of the severance payment paid to him. "At this stage of the piece it is not something I am going to reveal", Dr Blackmur said.

Kim Hill: "Why do you think it is legitimate [to keep this secret]?"

Dr Blackmur: "As a general rule I have no problem with disclosing this information. If this is a burning issue and it can be arranged for it to be released mutually then I am happy for that to happen."

Dr Blackmur said he knew of no reason the board of the NZQA would want the clause to be confidential and suggested Hill ask the chairman - Sir Neil Walters. "As I say if there is mutual agreement I have no problem with disclosing this at all."

Earlier in the interview Dr Blackmur said three visits to his son in Brisbane were reunion visits. He defended all other travel expenditure - which has been reported to be $52,000 a year.

Dr Blackmur said that nevertheless he had offered to pay for some reunion visits, even though he says he was authorised to make three reunion visits a year by the Chairman.

Dr Blackmur said he had commenced employment before the contract was in place. His contract had taken seven months to negotiate, nevertheless there were some conditions outside of this - contained in letters from the chairman including the "reunion" visits permission.

Dr Blackmur said he held the Chairman of the NZQA Board in the highest regard.

On the golden handshake Dr Blackmur said he wasn't paid $200,000 plus as reported.

"What is reported publicly is the employment cost of the CEO. I am not going to disclose how much I was paid [in severance]. My salary when I left was in order of $150,000 a year...Q: Plus performance bonuses? A: Yes. But I didn't get $200,000 a year."

On the critical select committee report he said many of the issues had been raised by himself. The NZQA had had morale problems due to difficult issues it was dealing with.

On Bill English's criticism of him Dr Blackmur said: "How would Bill English know. I have never met him."

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