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$50m off state sector extravagance

The Alliance will cut $50 million a year from state sector chief executive salaries, the use of consultants, golden handshakes and unnecessary public relations exercises, Alliance leader Jim Anderton announced today.

'We're going to try to put the words 'public service' back into the vocabulary of the people who manage the state sector,' Jim Anderton said. 'The money saved on consultants, executive salaries, golden handshakes and PR exercises will be spent on priorities like nurses, firefighter s and teachers.

'Spending on consultants is too high. The Treasury last year spent $61 million - more than half its budget - on outside consultants, including $47 million for advice on asset sales. We'll save all of that because we won't sell more assets.

'We know that too many public sector chief executives are over-paid. Last week it was revealed that ECNZ paid someone more than $800,000 for nine months work. A recent survey by international recruitment firm Korn Ferry shows pay packets for Government Department CEOs substantially outstrip rewards for chief executives in private companies.'

Government chief executives are paid an average of $411,000, compared to $381,000 for the chief executives of private companies. The chief executives of companies listed publicly on the sharemarket averaged $501,000.

'In Australia, state sector managers are paid much less than their private sector counterparts. They average 31% less than the chief executives of private companies and they're paid just a third as much as the chief executives of publicly listed companies.

''Too much is being wasted on pointless public relations exercises. For example, Timberlands alone spent more than a million dollars a year on a political campaign, including using public money to pay an infiltrator to report on a university environment group. The Fire Service Commission used public money to pay a public relations consultant to accompany a Cabinet Minister to inspect the scene of a fire. That's all money down the drain.

'The culture of golden handshakes has to end. The Tourism Board and the Fire Service Commission pay-outs that outraged New Zealanders this year were made to political appointees. The Alliance won't spent public money on pay-outs to political appointees who get removed from their boards.

'The Alliance has previously announced a review of public service management which would include: the State Sector Act and the performance of the State Services Commission; seemingly endless restructuring; the widespread use of consultants; State Sector CEO pay levels; the absence of accountability for state sector scandals; and the failure of State Sector reforms to achieve most of the goals set for them.

ends

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