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That’s not what you promised Trevor

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party State Services Spokesman

12 May 2008

That’s not what you promised Trevor

“Trevor Mallard needs to tell New Zealanders when Labour’s policy changed on golden handshakes,” says National’s State Services spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

In June 1999, Mr Mallard appeared to be very certain about Labour’s policy when he issued a statement which said: ‘taxpayers have made it quite clear that they don't want to foot the bill for golden handshakes’.*

“When did that policy change Trevor?”

Mr Brownlee is questioning Mr Mallard’s response to news of the six figure golden handshake given to departing Transpower boss Ralph Craven.

He told media that the golden handshake, funded through consumer power bills, was none of his ministerial business.

“But that’s not what Mr Mallard was saying in 1999, as he led Labour’s attacks on golden handshakes and called for all payment details to be made public.

“Mr Mallard even promised to put rules in place to make sure golden handshakes were outlawed.** Eight years on, and Mr Mallard is admitting that Labour has not delivered on what it promised before it came to office.

“Since then, there have been a series of payouts for state sector employees worth millions of dollars - all funded by the public purse. These are exactly the sorts of payouts that Mr Mallard campaigned against.

“It’s another case of Labour telling taxpayers one thing and doing another.”

ENDS

Attached: June 1999 media statement and extract from May 1999 article – 1 page.

--

Govt. should come clean on payment to NZQA boss

Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party 16-06-1999 16:18

( Tertiary Education; Education Wire; Labour Press Releases; Post Primary Education; General Education; )

Labour education and state services spokesperson Trevor Mallard says the Government should come clean on the payout to former NZQA boss Douglas Blackmur.

"The public has made it quite clear that they find large unnecessary golden handshakes to departing public servants unacceptable," Trevor Mallard said.

"Dr Blackmur is estimated to have received a six figure golden handshake even though he resigned to go to another job in Australia.

"It is a disgrace.

"I have written to the new chairman of the NZQA board asking for the amount paid to Dr Blackmur to be released under the Official Information Act. However, the Government has a responsibility to release this information publicly itself.

"Following the controversy surrounding the payment to departing Tourism Board and Fire Service Commission officials, the Government should have acted to ensure that the public sector had sound guidelines to follow in dealing with issues like this.

"Taxpayers have made it quite clear that they don't want to foot the bill for golden handshakes," Trevor Mallard said.

--

Labour's Trevor Mallard says it is important to have some things done at arm's-length. "But you have to have the ability to say, `This isn't working', and to fire directors." He adds, however, that it should be a cabinet decision, not a minister's whim, and there should be safeguards against appointments in bad faith and there should also be demonstrable "causal" grounds, such as non-compliance with or "clear departure" from a written directive. A Labour-led government, he says, will look at a change, either in the acts or, possibly, by instituting a letter of appointment arrangement. - "OFF WITH THE HEAD!"

Management - May 1999 : Page 61 Politics, Colin James

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