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Newman In Cuckoo Land

19 June 2002

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that Act MP Muriel Newman should in future take a cold shower before she considers putting out stupid statements on payouts to state servants.

“Mrs Newman has made a song and dance about 331 public servants receiving $3.9 million in personal grievance and other payments since the last election.

“That is an average payment of around $11,000 – which is hardly unusual with redundancy and personal grievance settlements. Three hundred payments over three years over the entire public service is minimal.

“This sum pales into insignificance when compared to:
- A single bad contract signed under the culture of extravagance practised under the last National government cost taxpayers $6 million when TVNZ had to pay out former newsreader John Hawkesby.
- Murray McCully’s meddling in the Tourism Board led to payouts to two board members and a chief executive totalling more than $800,000.
- Payments to former Fire Service Commission chief Roger Estall and four other senior Fire Service chiefs totalled over $800,000, under National.
- A former NZQA boss walked away with over $200,000, under National.

“All employers face personal grievance and redundancy costs from time to time. Meeting them in an appropriate way is not what the Labour Party denounced when it campaigned against National’s culture of extravagance.

“Muriel Newman might now like to reflect on how fundamentally stupid her statement is,” Helen Clark said.


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