Note that when I highlight these, it is generally not the journalist who writes the headline.
Brash blows fees budget
The controversial 2025 Task Force – which recommended slashing government spending – blew its entire three-year budget for chairman Don Brash’s meeting fees in just one year.
Dr Brash was paid $1200 a day to chair the commission, and the Government expected to pay him for eight full days of meetings and preparation in 2009-10 and four days for the following two years.
But documents made public by Treasury show Dr Brash received $39,450 in the first year – four times the amount earmarked for his first year on the taskforce.
Other members, who were paid $1000 a day, received $34,000 – $2000 above the estimated budget for 10 meetings.
The task force came in under budget, however, because it did not spend as much as anticipated on outside experts – out of a $100,000 budget just $18,913 was spent.
Dr Brash said the cost of his fees reflected the fact that he was working “close to fulltime” on the 2025 report. “I certainly worked a lot more than 10 days … working with the author, working through drafts etc.”
So in fact the taskforce under-spent by around $50,000 but that isn’t as good a headline. Neither is a headline about how Don saved the taxpayer money by doing more of the work himself, rather than engaging external parties.
Incidentally an hourly rate of $150 is massively cheap for a former Reserve Bank Governor. Hell junior lawyers get charged out at more than that.