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MSD top-band salaries increase more than 546%

Judith Collins MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

15 January 2008

MSD top-band salaries increase more than 546%

The number of Ministry of Social Development staff earning more than $100,000 has ballooned from 54 in 2002 to an incredible 349 in 2007, says National's Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins.

Ms Collins says the figures from MSD's 2006/07 financial review are alarming to say the least and, on the face of it, appear very hard to justify.

"In 2002, just six people earned more than $160,000, now 159 earn more than $160,000 and the number earning more than $200,000 have increased from zero in 2002 to 21 today.

"Though the Ministry claims it doesn't pay bonuses, it spent more than $5.5 million in 'performance payments' in 2006/07."

In addition, Ms Collins continues to be concerned by MSD's failure to keep a cap on burgeoning staff numbers and administration costs, despite there being fewer people on benefits.

"The standard answer is that this is due to the merger with Child, Youth and Family and the Ministry of Youth Affairs but, as the attached graph shows, there has still been a 28% increase in staff in just five years, even allowing for the merger.

"In 2002 there were 7,260 staff, including CYF and Youth Affairs. By 2007 that figure had increased to 9,323. This includes massive increases in the number of communications, media and PR staff.

"The Government constantly pats itself on the back for reducing benefit numbers but has failed to explain why, if that's the case, it has allowed staff numbers at MSD to blow out like this.

"What is equally staggering is that Labour's profligate spending hasn't led to a reduction in benefit debt nor has it made a dent in the number on sickness and invalid benefits.

"This is hardly a value-for money-Ministry."

ENDS

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