By Dan Parker
State-owned Enterprises minister Tony Ryall has sent a 'please explain' letter to the chairs of the country's SOEs after 3 News revealed they were handing out bonus payments of more than $54 million.
Well over half of it was going to the people who oversaw your power bills going up.
For the 53 years George and Barbara MacLennan have been married they've done their best to conserve electricity. But no matter how hard they try, rising power prices thwart efforts to keep their bill low.
"You can see there is a trend to be increased, which is a shame really because you can do without it, and it's something that is a necessity, isn't it?" says Mr MacLennan.
But the MacLennans say conservation appears to be a low priority for the state-owned energy sector, which rewarded itself with $30 million in performance incentives at a time many are struggling to pay their power bills.
"It brasses you off, doesn't it?" asks Ms MacLennan. "What can you do?"
Price hikes, profits and bonuses are closely linked and in 2010 Meridian led the way, doubling incentives to $10.7 million.
Lines provider Transpower increased its by just $340,000 but the total figure has grown to more than $5.5 million.
Mighty River moved closer to $3 million while coal producer Solid Energy paid over $10 million in 'at risk' incentives.
Genesis was the only energy SOE to decrease bonus payments.
Overall SOEs paid out $54 million, up $8.6 million on the year before.
"I'm looking at these numbers and those who are out of line with what we expect to be happening, I'll be asking the chairs these organisation to explain because I think New Zealanders would want to know too."
If this sounds familiar, it is. Two years ago the Government also promised action, hauling in the chairs of the SOEs to the Beehive.
But the only thing that's changed since then appears to be the minister.
And while some bonus payments may well be justified, the perception of an excessive bonus culture is not a good look for the Government.
source: newshub archive