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National hid WINZ settlement

Minister of Social Services and Employment
Associate Minister of Education
(Tertiary Education)

14 January 2000

National hid WINZ settlement

Social Services Minister Steve Maharey said today that the former National Government had suppressed knowledge of an out-of-court settlement involving a former senior WINZ manager which was reached before the election.

Mr Maharey said that the former National Government knew of this settlement decision but had chosen not to make it public.

The settlement was part of the fallout from a 1999 WINZ managers' conference at Taupo, which featured chartered aircraft and other extravagances.

Mr Maharey said he understood that the settlement had a strict confidentiality clause, which prevented him disclosing the details, as he would otherwise do.

"WINZ and other government agencies are on notice. Labour will not stand by and allow further public money to be squandered on extravagant get-togethers for top public servants and golden handshakes for the incompetent, or those who fall foul of senior management.

"The new government is determined to restore a sense of moderation, accountability and integrity to the public service.

"After learning this week of the pre-election settlement to the former WINZ manager, I am demanding assurances that proper procedures were followed in the lead-up to the settlement decision.

"I also want the State Services Commission to ensure that there has been, or will be, proper accountability for any actions which led to the settlement decision.

"We will not be tolerating waste and sloppiness at the top of government agencies. The Minister of State Services is presently determining the terms for a full inquiry into management practices at WINZ, which was announced by Labour before the election," Mr Maharey said.

ENDS

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