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Culture of Extravagance Alive & Well

Culture of Extravagance Alive & Well

The blatant abuse of taxpayer’s money for political purposes is ongoing. I am in receipt of papers that reveal the Labour government is offering pay-offs for people in the public service to join the PSA.

Courts’ staff are being offered large one-off payments if they become union members by certain dates. If staff members refuse to join the union, they do not qualify for the pay-outs. The offer is a one-off payment of $640 if they are PSA union members by 17th June. It is an exclusive two year deal, that is not being offered to those who have chosen not to join the union….unless they join by June 17th.

A more serious case exists at Work and Income. The PSA has negotiated a one-off payment last month of $1,200, plus two days extra leave, to those who were or became union members by May 13. This goes way beyond reimbursing unions, it now sets up special leave provisions for union members. Those that have been employed for 6 years got 5 weeks annual leave. What an appalling signal this will be to the private sector. No such offer was made to non-union members doing exactly the same work. This deal is a breach of Work and Income’s own workplace policy, which states there should be no discrimination between union and non-union members! It will be interesting to see if any non-union Work and Income employee decides to take a personal grievance case – under current policy, I believe they would certainly win.

These revelations may go some way to explaining the reason why the PSA has come out attacking National policy. The PSA launched advertisements in the Dominion Post stating communities would suffer if a National government slashed jobs in the public sector. The PSA assert they are not affiliated to any political party. Yet they and their Labour Party mates are doing sweetheart deals both to get extra money for their members, and to run a political propaganda campaign against National. This strategy clearly makes the PSA pro-Labour, and not politically neutral, as they claim. Welcome to the politicisation of the public service.

And the culture of extravagance does not end there. In response to a select committee question regarding total amounts paid out in redundancy, it was revealed one ex-Department of Labour employee received a redundancy payout of between $150,000 to $180,000 last year. Just who was this lucky person? Minister Paul Swain has so far refused to come clean on the issue, and the speculation will continue to mount until he does.

It is too similar to the Families Commission golden handshake. And this Labour government, who talked tough in Opposition saying it would put an end to the ‘culture of extravagance’ in the public service, has proven to be all bark and no bite. How unsurprising. There is only one way to end this culture. Change the government.


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