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Media Statement from the State Services Commission

31 August 1999

Media Statement from the State Services Commissioner

Re. New Zealand Lotteries Commission

With regard to the Lotteries Commission, the State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, said today:

"The consultation process on the chief executive's contract was inadequate. It took too long for Lotteries to supply the State Services Commission (SSC) with the information that the SSC required to consider the chief executive's employment terms and conditions in their entirety.

"However, that shortcoming was not material to the outcome of the consultation.

"The remuneration package - which the SSC opposed, and which it told the Lotteries Commission was too high - would not have been altered even if the process had been expedited.

"There are two points here.

"First, Mr Bale was already in the chief executive's role. Indeed, he had been in the role since 1987.

"In 1998 Mr Bale's terms and conditions were being formalised in a contract. This was not a case where the SSC was consulted on a new package and where there was potential for substantial change. The board, after consultation with the SSC, could have effected marginal changes only to the terms and conditions.

"Second, the board of the Lotteries Commission rejected the SSC's view regarding the remuneration. The SSC made its point - that it thought the remuneration was too high. The board apparently believes the remuneration can be justified.

"The board of the Lotteries Commission makes the decisions on the chief executive's employment, including the remuneration. The board is accountable for those decisions. Therefore, questions on the remuneration should be put to the board.

"The Acting Minister of State Services, Hon Maurice Williamson, has expressed his disappointment about the prolonged consultation and that Ministers were not alerted to that. I recognise that this is a matter of concern to Mr Williamson.

"I have reassured Mr Williamson that, in line with the Government's 15 July Crown entities initiative, I will alert Ministers where I have concerns about such matters in future.

"I would make two observations about the consultation process and my decision not to alert Ministers in this case: "First, while the SSC was not receiving all the information it requested, particularly in 1998, my staff believed that some progress was being made.

"Second, even if I had alerted Ministers, the substantive outcome would not have altered. The chief executive was already in the job and was receiving the remuneration, and the board - which is the only body that can make decisions about the chief executive's employment - believed that the package was justified."


Ends


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