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SOE Bonus Payments To Be Scrutinised

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Simon Power. Pic: NZPA
Simon Power. Pic: NZPA

Wellington, March 27 NZPA - The issue of bonus payments by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will be scrutinised at a meeting of company chairs next month.

Fifteen SOEs paid over $46 million in bonuses last year, with NZ Post being the biggest spender, TV3 reported last night.

It handed out $19.8 million, followed by Transpower ($5.3m), Solid Energy ($5.2m), Meridian ($5.1m) and NZ Railways ($2.18m).

SOE Minister Simon Power said the figures concerned him considering the state of the economy, and he would be following the issue up.

Mr Power said there was a financial performance meeting on April 9 involving the chairs of all the SOE boards.

"The bonuses that were paid under the last Government in the last financial year is an issue that will no doubt discussed in that forum," he said.

"I don't think that in the current economic times the public would expect SOEs to act any differently than any other company would and I expect restraint to be exercised across the financial performance of those bodies."

Southern region Postal Workers Union president John Maynard told Radio New Zealand that all staff on the collective employment agreement were eligible for bonuses.

He said bonuses could play an important role and be effective if clear targets were outlined.

However, he said there were concerns that top level bonuses were much higher and there was a risk that the bonus part of a salary could become too heavily weighted.

Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said it was entirely appropriate for SOEs to have the same strategies as private companies.

"And that would include, potentially, bonuses or some other mechanism," he told Radio New Zealand.

It also needed to be noted that SOE's could not provide other incentives such as share options, he said.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin yesterday criticised the power companies over the bonus payments.

"Consumers are saying electricity prices keep going up and there seems to be a real lack of justification," she said.

(Seeking NZPost comment)

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