28 May 2009

Ministerial adviser defends $2000-a-day fee

2:33 pm on 28 May 2009

A ministerial adviser hired to find savings in Government spending is dismissing criticisms of his daily pay rate as political posturing.

Documents released under the Official Information Act show former Treasury secretary and ACT Party candidate Graham Scott can charge up to $2000 a day for advice to Finance Minister Bill English.

Payment for the six-month contract is capped at $40,000.

Dr Scott says he is providing value for money and has a track record for producing results.

PM supports pay rate

Prime Minister John Key backs that view and says the figure needs to be put into perspective because the advice has helped the Government find significant savings.

Mr English says Dr Scott's pay rate is about a third of what the Government pays a "top flight" lawyer.

But the Labour Party says it shows why the Government tried to keep its new advisers secret.

"Appalling to think that someone is paid $2000 a day to be a political adviser when other decent, hardworking public servants - more than a thousand - have been thrown out of their jobs and have lost their livelihoods."