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Ryall Must Answer On Bonus Pay-Outs

Clayton
COSGROVE
Spokesperson for SOEs
22 February 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Ryall Must Answer On Bonus Pay-Outs

Tony Ryall should have hauled in the chairman and directors of Solid Energy and made clear that paying out $23 million in bonuses to executives and senior management while the company was run into the ground was unacceptable, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

“Solid Energy has paid out $23 million in bonuses over two years while the company was collapsing. That’s incredible mismanagement. Tony Ryall is responsible for this company but his lack of oversight and mismanagement has seen it fall apart in two years.

“It’s astonishing to see executives and senior management paid millions in bonuses to run a company into the ground. The more the company is run down the more money you get. It’s Lehman Brothers stuff.

“Tony Ryall is the shareholding minister of Solid Energy and under the no-surprises policy he would have known of the bonuses in 2011. He should have called in the directors and made it clear that paying bonuses while profits plunge is not acceptable to the sole shareholder – the taxpayer. But the next year bonuses continued.

“In 2009 Bill English called in the SOEs and told them he wanted more money of out of them. If they can do that, the Government could have hauled in Solid Energy heads to make it clear they shouldn’t be paying executive bonuses while the company was failing.

“Tony Ryall blames rising coal prices but they’ve been on a downward trend for four years. National should have made it clear the company needed a plan to handle coal prices but they didn’t. The blame for Solid Energy’s collapse lies with the Government’s lack of monitoring and mismanagement.

“National’s obsession with selling off state assets forced the company into cutting jobs and investment so it could be spruced up and flogged off.

“Bill English and Tony Ryall need to front up and tell the people of New Zealand what they knew, when they knew it and why they sat back and did nothing,” says Clayton Cosgrove.

ENDS

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