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Government opposes Act Bill

24 May 2000

Government opposes Act Bill

The Government will not support an Act bill to which purports to cover disclosure of financial settlements, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard said the bill was poorly drafted and did not do what Act MP Muriel Newman was promoting it as doing.

"The Government has made absolutely plain its opposition to generous and confidential termination payments made to public sector employees. We do not want a culture in which taxpayers’ money is spent on secret payments.

"Disclosure goes part of the way to addressing the problem. But while the Government supports a move towards transparency, Muriel Newman's bill manifestly fails to achieve that end.

"The bill purports to require disclosure of financial settlements reached with staff in public sector organisations on termination of their employment but it doesn't even cover the whole of the public sector. It sets out to amend the State Sector Act. But despite its name, the State Sector Act deals only with the Public Service, and the Education Service.

"So while the Bill covers the Public Service and the Education Service (both schools and tertiary institutions), it doesn't cover other public sector entities. Organisations not covered include Crown entities, such as the Tourism Board or the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, SOEs, such as Airways Corporation, the police and Parliament.

"Nor does the bill cover all termination payments. It talks about financial settlements that the employer reaches with a person on termination of employment but that does not necessarily include payments that arise from a contractual entitlement, rather than a negotiated settlement – for example, a redundancy payment.

"These are just some of the holes that mean it would be unwise for the Government to support this bill," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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