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Shipley the Doyenne of Golden Handshakes

26 January 2000

Shipley the doyenne of golden handshakes

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the Leader of the Opposition appeared to have a fit of amnesia about the nature of 'golden handshakes'.

"Golden handshakes were Mrs Shipley's government's stock in trade. Under her government, they took the form of people that the government wanted to be rid of getting payments calculated on the basis of their full legal entitlement, taking them through till the end of their contractual term.

"It is well known that in the case of the former chief executive of the Tourism Board, a sum in excess of $600,000 was paid to pay him out until the end of his contract term in mid-2001.

"Similar arrangements were made in respect of Mr Mogridge and Mr Wall, who were shunted aside as directors of the Tourism Board by Mr McCully with Mrs Shipley's silent assent.

"Nothing could be more different from these arrangements than that which Mr Doone has.

"Mr Doone ends his career as a police office on 31 August. He is paid until that time. He is paid to do a job, not to do nothing, while he works through his notice period. On leaving the force on 31 August, he leaves with the entitlements that any retiring police officer with his level of experience would.

"Because government superannuation is calculated on an average of the five years' salary immediately prior to retirement, the fact that Mr Doone retires on 31 August, not 29 February, is estimated to be worth around $4500 a year extra in his superannuation. As he has said, it is an increase on the margins of his government superannuation.

"Had Mr Doone continued until the police retirement age of 55 years, he would be retiring on a pension of something like $14,000 a year more than he will when he retires on 31 August. Had the rules so common under Mrs Shipley's administration still applied, he probably would have gone with a golden handshake of his salary of $275,000 paid out each year until he retired in three-and-a-half years.

"Mrs Shipley's crocodile tears are simply ridiculous. I suggest she look in the mirror and consult her files about the golden handshakes to which she was party. A moment's reflection will remind her that there is no parallel between what she sanctioned and what Mr Doone is entitled to," Helen Clark said.

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