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Secret WINZ Payout Scandalous - Greens

14 January 2000

Secret WINZ Payout Scandalous - Greens

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald has described revelations of a secret, substantial payout to an ex-WINZ senior manager as scandalous and says it raises significant questions about the competence of WINZ's chief executive.

The payout has been made to a WINZ senior manager who was suspended following her role in a $165,000 aircraft charter to a WINZ conference. She resigned following public criticism from Christine Rankin and then sought compensation for unjustified constructive dismissal. It is understood she received an apology as well as a payout.

"This settlement indicates that Christine Rankin was either incompetent in her instructions to her manager in the first place or that she was out of line to criticise her in public as she did. Or both," said Mr Donald.

"Once again the taxpayer will pick up the pieces for this hapless department," he said.

Mr Donald said the secrecy surrounding the settlement was astonishing and he was appalled that neither the old or new government was taking responsibility.

"Either National or Labour knew this settlement was taking place and chose to keep it quiet. Labour's Steve Maharey says National suppressed the information before the election but National MP Bob Simcock implies Labour agreed to the settlement.

"If neither party knew of the settlement then this is a further example of WINZ chief executive Christine Rankin's incompetence. Given the contentious nature of this case she should have kept the Minister fully briefed at every step," he said.

"It would appear that Rankin failed to brief Steve Maharey when he became the Minister responsible for WINZ and I suspect he will now be regretting his public declaration of confidence in Ms Rankin."

Ends

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