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Simon Power MP: $1.8m Corrections Staff Bonuses

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

Corrections staff get $1.8m in bonuses

Corrections Minister Phil Goff and CEO Barry Matthews should explain how their department can justify spending $1.8 million in bonuses for staff when they've had such a diabolical year, says National's Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing figures which show $1,808,788 has been paid this year to staff for the 2005/06 year.

"Earlier this year, previous Minister Damien O'Connor put this department 'on notice' to get its act together, but these bonuses tell a different story.

"This department has stumbled from crisis to crisis - from the Graeme Burton debacle, to staff corruption and contraband, riots, and a convicted killer being paroled to live next door to one of his victims - and still somehow they see fit to hand out 'performance' bonuses.

"They get a bonus if all 'performance competencies' have been met, but surely it's enough that they get to keep their job?

"As well, 17 staff in the Regional Prisons Development Project got bonuses, with at least one receiving $13,529.50 while that budget was blowing out by $490 million.

"Giving someone a $13,000 bonus in those circumstances is astounding.

"And as if that wasn't enough, it seems Corrections is also handing out Koru Club memberships like they are going out of fashion - 125 last year compared to 82 the previous year - an increase of 52%.

"It seems that in Corrections, taxpayers' money is there so they spend it."

Mr Power is also releasing figures which show that in 2006/07:

* Corrections spent $329,600 sending staff to conferences, nearly double what they had expected, after spending only
* $194,600 in 2005/06. They expect to spend $379,000 this year.

The number of official staff cellphones and Blackberries rose from 1,503 to 1,777.


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