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Calculated Attempt To Deceive

Murray McCully
National MP for Albany

Rodney Hide

26 April 2002

NZ Post Chair Dr Ross Armstrong has been accused by MPs Murray McCully and Rodney Hide of "a calculated attempt to deceive" over the salary package of NZ Post chief executive Elmar Toime. Material released today by the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee includes a letter from NZ Post Elmar Toime, following questions from the Committee.

Mr Toime's letter explains the structure of his remuneration, including an "at risk" component and states "For that reason, my remuneration could range from $570,000 to $1.1 million, depending on the level of at risk payment made."

Yet in a press release dated 10 February, in response to allegations that Mr Toime's salary had been increased to a maximum of $1.2 million, Dr Armstrong "strongly denied" the claims. He said "Taking into account the 2.5% increase to fixed remuneration and even allowing for the maximum possible achievement in the "at risk" component, Mr Toime's total remuneration for 2002 will be well below the $800,000 figure recommended by PriceWaterhhouseCoopers as the bottom end of the salary band."

"That statement was a calculated attempt to deceive," said Messrs McCully and Hide today.

"From examining the detail of Mr Toime's letter it is clear that Post made their claim only by not counting any element of this year's at risk salary component on the basis that it would be paid next year. Yet any reasonable person reading Dr Armstrong's statement would be led to believe that all elements of the package, including this year's at risk salary was included."

"The 2001 Annual Report records a top salary band of $540,000 to $550,000. Yet Mr Toime's letter concedes that his remuneration "could have ranged from $560,000 to $1 million. These are huge discrepancies which can only be the result of a calculated plan to deceive."

"This is a further illustration of the slippery, evasive, deceitful conduct which has characterised NZ Post's dealings with Parliamentarians and select committees and it falls well short of the standard which we are prepared to accept."


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