By: Mike Hosking | Thursday, March 07, 2013
Solid Energy are doing their case and their reputation no good by tying to keep Don Elder’s exit payment secret. There will be no shortage of people filing Official Information Act requests to get hold of the numbers, and they may one day find their way into the public arena.
Here’s where we stand this morning. The questions most of us had over Elder’s exit and what money he took with him haven’t been answered. Tony Ryall on this programme said they would eventually. He said that because we have seen the classic delay for time from the Government.
I think he said that so it didn't get any more embarrassing. But they haven’t so it behoves the Government to make them cough.
I don't mind the bosses of state owned enterprises earning commercial salaries. They have to. SOEs aren’t government departments. Thank God because government departments are what created Gliding On. No one was paid anything so anyone with any talent left for the private sector. The creation of the SOE model allowed the state to still own businesses but operate in a commercial environment. But they are still state owned and therefore still answerable to those who ultimately pay the bills.
There is enough evidence about the place to suggest that Solid Energy made some seriously bad decisions that led to their current predicament beyond the price of coal dropping which may well see some sort of bail out, a bail out paid by the aforementioned us. If that's the case, accountability is critical.
It makes it very hard to defend big money if the people who get the big money then go and cock it up and get more big money to walk away and no one ever gets to know just how much big money that was involved.
I defend big money on the basic premise that you earn it. It is a reward for excellence, insight, productivity and profitability. It doesn't mean you have to be fool proof or a genius or beyond reproach, but it does mean you that you are answerable and accountable (especially in the public arena) and you don't skulk away with your pockets full when it all goes wrong.Photo: NZ Herald
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