Another golden handshake is confirmed

Published: Fri 4 Nov 2005 08:37 AM
Another golden handshake is confirmed
National Party Families spokeswoman Judith Collins says the Ministry of Social Development annual report confirms the golden handshake given to former Families Commission chief executive Claire Austin.
The report confirms Ms Austin received $50,000 following her resignation.
“She worked for just three months, then was paid $50,000 - that’s more than the average annual wage,” says Ms Collins.
“Rajen Prasad broke the rules when he offered Ms Austin a golden handshake, and he has never faced any action for this breach.
“Worse still, Steve Maharey knew about the breakdown of relations between Claire Austin and the commission – yet chose not to intervene and reiterate Labour’s policy on golden handshakes.
“In fact, when asked about the exit payment earlier this year Mr Maharey said ‘you can’t fault Raj’.
“Labour deliberately sought to bury details of this secret payout until after the election and now they have released the information by quietly slipping it onto a departmental website.
“Mr Maharey’s claim that it was a confidential pay-out has been laid bare as a blatant deception. All Labour did was buy time to avoid embarrassment in the lead-up to the election.
“Mr Maharey’s reluctance to answer questions on this issue serves to underline the Ombudsman’s report this week, which attacked government Ministers for their deliberate manipulation of official information.
“Clearly, we can expect more of the slippery same from Mr Maharey in his new role,” says Ms Collins.

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