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Newman Should Get A Dose Of Reality

19 June 2002

Act MP Muriel Newman is blowing the issue of payments within the state sector out of proportion, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

Her claim that the approximately $4 million paid out over three years amounts to a culture of extravagance is ridiculous.

“This is the same Muriel Newman who believed that Christine Rankin deserved a payout or to keep her job. This government stood firmly behind the State Services Commissioner when he decided not to recommend her for re-appointment. The public will not forget the long court case and considerable effort this government went to in order to stop a payout in this case.

“In opposition, we campaigned against extravagant payments made in the public sector like the $579,000 to former Tourism Board chief executive Paul Winter and the $340,000 to two Tourism Board members because of former Tourism Minister Murray McCully’s inappropriate interferences in board matters.

“We campaigned against the payouts like the $200,000 to the former NZQA boss Douglas Blackmur, the $68,000 to former Fire Service Commission boss Roger Estall, and the $785,000 to four fire chiefs.

“In government we have set clear expectations that we take a dim view of extravagance within the public sector and that message is getting through.

“The standard contract with Chief Executives has changed so that they no longer get paid out for the remainder of their term if they fall out with their Minister. Agencies have been given the clear message that there are no guarantees of confidentiality to public servants because it is my expectation that at some stage a select committee will require transparency. That is their right.

“At the same time, the government has a responsibility to honour employees’ existing contracts in regards to restructuring and redundancy, and where there have been run of the mill employment issues. While there have been considerably less of these under this government, some are inevitable,” Trevor Mallard said.

Ends

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