Huge pay rise for Judy Bailey reported

TVNZ newsreader Judy Bailey's salary has nearly doubled, from about $400,000 to between $790,000 to $800,000, the Dominion Post said today.

The paper reported Bailey had asked for, and received, the increase in light of a battle for presenters between TVNZ, TV3 and Prime, the newspaper said.

ACT leader Rodney Hide said the payment was a huge embarassment for the Government.

Mr Hide said TVNZ clearly believed that was the market rate for Bailey.

"(But) it's a huge embarrassment for the Government because they've campaigned against high salaries at TVNZ and despite pumping in millions and millions of dollars, TVNZ hasn't taken any notice of (Prime Minister) Helen Clark," he told NZPA.

The Government had put $13.3 million into TVNZ in the past financial year with the aim of increasing local programmes.

"... they've pumped in millions and have seen it go in the opposite way of what they want it," Mr Hide said.

Former TVNZ presenter Paul Holmes' salary of about $740,000 had often been described as excessive, and Helen Clark once said it was "revolting".

Holmes left his current affairs show last month after announcing he would move to Prime next year, where it is understood he will be paid $1 million a year for the three years of his contract as co-producer and host of a new show.

TVNZ is paying him $60,000 a month to do nothing because his contract does not expire until the end of the year.

A spokesman for Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey said he had no comment.

"Remuneration is a matter for the board and management to comment on," the spokesman said.

TVNZ spokeswoman Avon Adams said the broadcaster had no comment.

"Firstly, I have no idea what Judy Bailey is paid," she told NZPA.

"Secondly, you couldn't possibly expect us to comment on personal salary negotiations."

National broadcasting spokeswoman Katherine Rich said the Government had said it would "end the culture of extravagance" at TVNZ.

"If this is ending the culture of extravagance, I'd hate to see extravagance," Mrs Rich told NZPA.

The Government appeared reluctant to comment on Bailey's salary but were previously happy to comment on Holmes' pay.

"If Holmes' salary was 'revolting', what's this?" she said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the Government must stop TVNZ paying "obscenely high" salaries.

"No state-employed newsreader is worth $800,000, and the salary level is a direct affront to every single pensioner trying to live on $250 a week," Mr Peters said in a statement.

"This Government promised to end the huge salaries but now obviously does not want to offend its friends in the state-owned media."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the Government must stop TVNZ paying "obscenely high" salaries.

"No state-employed newsreader is worth $800,000, and the salary level is a direct affront to every single pensioner trying to live on $250 a week," Mr Peters said in a statement.

"This Government promised to end the huge salaries but now obviously does not want to offend its friends in the state-owned media."

- NZPA

 

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