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Housing New Zealand Pays Out 'Golden Thank-Yous'

Housing New Zealand is attempting to hide bonuses to its staff by giving holidays rather than cash, National's Housing spokesman Tony Ryall revealed today.

Hot on the heels of the controversial NZQA payments for 'disruption while shifting offices', Housing New Zealand has given each of its staff members a bonus of three extra days off.

"They received the bonus holidays for having implemented the Government's income related rents policy. That's their job.

"It appears that Housing Minister Mark Gosche agreed to the deal to give staff extra holidays for simply doing their jobs.

"Bonus holidays instead of bonus payments seem suspiciously like a way of avoiding the Prime Minister's much vaunted 'austerity' regime. The bonus holidays for about 520 staff equate to giving away about $250,000* worth of work-time. For the 36 Housing New Zealand staff earning between $100,000 and $230,000 a year that equates to a bonus of between $1150 and $2645.

"Does the Prime Minister agree with the idea of bonuses for public servants who simply do what they are supposed to do?

"In response to the NZQA payouts Helen Clark told the media yesterday that she was 'not impressed at all': 'If you're a public servant adjusting to the requirements of a new government is one of your duties. You don't expect to be paid more for it.'

"If Ms Clark cannot see that the same rule should apply to the case of Housing New Zealand then she is either blind or a hypocrite," Tony Ryall said.

Ends

* calculated on an average salary of approx. $40,000


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