Winz boss cost $15,000 to hire, only to quit
New figures reveal the Government spent more than $15,000 recruiting a new head of Work and Income - only for her to quit and head back to Britain within months.
The case has renewed concerns over a lack of Kiwis taking top state sector jobs.
Foreigners have been appointed in charge of the health, education, Treasury and tax departments.
In July last year, Janet Grossman was announced as the new chief executive of Work and Income. Ms Grossman, who was headhunted for the job from Europe, abruptly quit last month and returned home to Britain.
The Social Development Ministry said yesterday that $10,612 had been spent on recruitment costs associated with Ms Grossman's appointment. A further $5026 was spent on costs associated with her interview and orientation in New Zealand, including return flights from London.
The ministry denied suggestions Ms Grossman had resigned over the introduction of a new board overseeing Work and Income.
Chief executive Brendan Boyle said she had "decided to put her family's needs first" in resigning.
Ms Grossman is an American who had lived and worked in Britain for the past decade, including as the chief operating officer for the Pensions Service in the Work and Pensions Department.
Her appointment was followed by the choice of another top-ranking British civil servant, Lesley Longstone, as Education Secretary.
Also last year, Kevin Woods was chosen from Scotland to head the Health Ministry and Gabriel Makhlouf, another Briton, was promoted to chief executive of Treasury. Bob Russell, a Canadian, heads Inland Revenue.
Labour leader David Shearer said Kiwis should generally be considered first for top departmental appointments.
"It just seems at the moment that in some of the key areas that we are appointing in - the bigger ministries where actually we have a pretty good reputation - we appear to be going for outsiders rather than favouring our own," he said.
There were areas where New Zealand could benefit from overseas expertise, but there were extra costs when things did not work out.
State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie said there was no issue with a series of foreign appointments.
‘‘From time to time the right candidate was not born in New Zealand but may have the right mix of experience and qualifications to suit the role,’’ Mr Rennie said.
‘‘We will always have people born overseas working in the public service. Overall, this is good for the public service as it brings a mix of experiences and increases the diversity of innovative ideas in the public service.’’
The commissioner was legally required to appoint the best person for the role and in the last 10 years, only 14 per cent had been appointed from overseas.
- The Dominion Post
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