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A Week of It: Fat Cat Pay Packets - Winston Smiles

A Week of It: Fat Cat Pay Packets And Winston Smiling

Greedy Frontline Workers May Scuttle Public Service Chief Executives' Pay Rises
National And The Maori Party's Dilmah Discussions
Photographic Proof Found Of Winston Peters Smiling – Mystery of Sour Faced Official Portrait Remains


Greedy Frontline Workers May Scuttle Public Service Chief Execs' Pay Rises

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A graph in the State Service Commissioner's latest report shows just how close most chief executives are to the breadline

Earlier this week State Services Commisioner Mark Prebble released a report showing that Public Service chief executive's wages were not rising as fast as he wanted them to. In a graph on page 102 of the report a brave line clawed its way to salaries well above $500,000 per annum. Sadly for many a struggling Public Service chief executive, this line is at present only a pipe dream in Mr Prebble's head.

Despite recent pay increases, most Public Service chief executives are lucky if they make $400,000 dollars. Mr Prebble himself is one of these poorly-paid chief executives – his salary is somewhere between $390,000 and $399,000. In a pleading missive to his tight-fisted masters in the Beehive, Mr Prebble explains the quandary he finds himself in – a man sadly unable to give his fellow chief executives lottery-winner sized salaries.

"In my last Annual Report I said that I was meeting the policy for those chief executives in smaller positions, but that the remaining two thirds were consistently below the policy line, and the largest jobs between $60,000 and $100,000 below the line.

"This year I have been able to meet the policy only in the very smallest Public Service chief executive roles. This is despite my intention to steadily adjust the top salary levels.

"I am now at a point where I need to give serious consideration to a step change in the levels of remuneration offered to Public Service chief executives. Without this change I believe I will be unable to attract and retain highly competent Public Service chief executives," wrote a concerned Mr Prebble.

While Public Service chief executives are missing out on $100,000 salary increases for their highly complex and no doubt arduous jobs, people who have it easy on the frontlines are complaining!

“At a time when the State Services Commission is talking about pay hikes for public service Chief Executives it is ironic that workers dealing with some of the most vulnerable and challenging people in our society have to take strike action to try and get a decent pay rise. It’s wrong when frontline workers earning between $10.60 and $12.60 are being offered rises of 3% at a time when public sector CEOs are getting salary increases of 15%,” said Lynda Boyd of the National Union of Public Employees.

Unlike the Public Service chief executives, who occasionally have to front up to opposition politicians, CYFS staff only have to face families who have had their children taken off them.

A CYFS social worker may have to remove a child from a family, leading to encountering the family of this child on the phone or across the reception counter. The families of these children are in a high emotional state and often display anger and violence towards those staff on the frontline. However despite this not sounding very much fun, at least the public is able to understand that this is very dangerous and demanding work for ten bucks an hour.

As Mr Prebble points out in the conclusion of his report most people just don't understand why Public Service chief executives get hundreds of thousands of dollars, a company car and penthouse view of Wellington Harbour.

"The complexity and responsibility of Public Service chief executives should not be underestimated. The jobs are difficult and demanding in ways that are not apparent to observers in the community," explains a man with a difficult and no doubt demanding job.

For the record: the SIS's top bloke Richard Woods pulls in a little over $270,000 dollars. Not too bad a pay packet for locking up Ahmed Zaoui and not noticing when a few supporters of Saddam Hussein popped into NZ for a wee visit.

Saving kiwis - some of the time - allows DOC's Hugh Logan to enjoy an income of nearly $350,000.

And dealing with 111 botch-ups and having microphones stuck up your nose most days is nasty stuff if you're the Police Commissioner – fortunately there's more than 430,000 reasons to do the job.


National And The Maori Party's Dilmah Discussions

Dr Brash as he may have looked when negotiating with Tariana Turia – but not during the Orewa speech

During the negotiations regarding who would lead the next Government of New Zealand, National leader Don Brash, his trusty Deputy Gerry Brownlee and MP Georgina Te Heu Heu indulged in a number of cups of tea with Maori Party leader Tariana Turia.

All participants at these chummy get-togethers have been somewhat reticent as to what exactly was discussed. However both the National and Maori Party MPs involved considered they had a greater understanding of each other following the 'Dilmah discussions'.

A Week of It wonders if the respective MPs discussed National's proposed changes to the school curriculum and legal systems of New Zealand as outlined to Scoop Co-editor Alastair Thompson just before the election.

Scoop: I'm pretty certain that in primary and secondary schools, they teach the children of this nation that the Treaty is a partnership between Maori and Pakeha.

Dr Brash: That's not a view which we hold.

Scoop: Will you be instructing the education service to change the curriculum so they no longer teach that?

Dr Brash: Of course. Of course.

Scoop: Will you also tell the Court of Appeal that it's not a partnership when that's in fact what the Court of Appeal said?

Dr Brash: The Court of Appeal was obliged to interpret reference to the principles of the Treaty because Parliament left that expression in law.

Scoop: And the expression means, as the Court of Appeal has defined it, that there is a partnership between Maori and Pakeha.

Dr Brash: Okay. That's not a view we hold.

If the impact of the Treaty of Waitangi was not discussed, perhaps the politically-correct approach of the Labour Government to "animist religions" may have been on the agenda for Tariana Turia and Dr Brash. In late August 2005 Dr Brash explained exactly what he thought of Maori spirituality.

As Gerry Brownlee remarked in explaining National's opposition to the Bill, "this makes it law for all those who are of the Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi iwi to be considered demigods of divine and human parentage. Further it makes it clear that the law must accept that there is no difference between the physical geography as defined in the agreement and the people of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi themselves. How on Earth could any judge interpret that?"

And recently the Environment Court determined that Genesis Power can divert water from the Whanganui River, but only for the next 10 years instead of the 35 years it had sought to ensure security of supply. Environment Court Judge Gordon Whiting said in the decision: "To the Maori people, the severing of the headquarters of their rivers is a sacrilege resulting in the denigration of Maori values and beliefs affecting their self esteem.

So we have a situation where Helen Clark has banned the saying of grace at state luncheons, but an animist religion is officially endorsed by the courts.

No doubt the discussions between the Maori Party and National were conducted in good faith and lacking in political correctness.

"We will work with Maori in good faith. But we will have no time for political correctness, or for suggestions that Maori New Zealanders should be treated differently from other New Zealanders on the grounds of race," explained Dr Brash in the concluding paragraphs of his speech entitled "We Are All New Zealanders"

Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia photographed after a week of drinking tea with Don Brash and Gerry Brownlee

No wonder Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia looked so pleased and happy following the announcement that the Maori Party would be sitting on the opposition benches with their new found friends - Dr Brash and Gerry Brownlee.


Photographic Proof Found Of Winston Peters Smiling – Mystery of Sour Faced Official Portrait Remains

The PM and Mr Peters smiling

Many column inches of ink have been spilled over the last week or so by learned political commentators who weren't actually at the swearing-in of the Ministers of Clark's third term Government. Much has been made of a photograph which looked very similar to Scoop's artist's impression below. However A Week of Its reporter was there and saw and captured on camera Mr Peters in a slightly jovial mood.

Why therefore was Mr Peters grim-faced later on? Was it impending ructions in his confidence and supply agreement or were his lemon-faced looks brought about by a meeting with members of the fourth estate some minutes prior to having his picture taken? Due to A Week of Its dinner commitments that evening the mystery remains tragically unsolved.

A masterful near photographic reproduction of events at Government House a week ago showing Mr Peters, the PM, the GG and Mr Peter Dunne. Mr Peters is the one with a sad face.


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