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More corporate extravagance in the public sector

Fri Oct 8 1999

The Reserve Bank is paying 31 staff more than $100,000 each and its travel budget blew-out by $118,000 over last year.

In addition the Reserve Bank maintains an art collection valued at $767,000.Alliance leader Jim Anderton is accusing the Reserve Bank of private sector-style corporate extravagance with taxpayers' money.

'The Reserve Bank's obsession with price stability doesn't seem to apply to its own accounts,' Jim Anderton said.The Reserve Bank annual report reveals that Governor Don Brash was the top paid employee, with a salary of $460,000 in the last financial year.

That compares to a salary of NZ$270,000 paid to his US counterpart, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan.Five other Reserve Bank employees were paid salaries of more than $200,000.The Reserve Bank spent $667,000 on travel last year, up from $549,000 the year before and $35,000 more than was budgeted.

'If the rest of the country increased travel spending by 21%, the Reserve Bank would crank interest rates up to squeeze out the inflationary pressure,' Jim Anderton said.

'There seems to be one rule for the Reserve Bank and a different rule for the rest of the country.

'The Alliance leader is questioning the need for the Reserve Bank to maintain a lavish $767,000 art collection.

'New Zealand's best art should be hanging in public spaces, not restricted to the boardrooms of the central bank,' Jim Anderton commented.

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