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Golden handshake for Lesley Longstone

Tuesday 05 Mar 2013 1:16p.m.

Golden handshake for Lesley Longstone

Former Ministry of Education chief executive Lesley Longstone received a golden handshake of $425,475.33 before tax, it has been revealed.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie released the figures today. The total includes a severance payment of $267,952, equivalent to six months' pay. Ms Longstone also received $157,523.33 in holiday pay and payment in lieu of notice.

“While notice would usually have been worked out, the desirability of a timely leadership transition led the parties to agree that a payment in lieu of notice was appropriate," says Mr Rennie.

“Therefore, total before tax payments to Ms Longstone relating to the ending of her employment as chief executive totalled $425,475.33.” 

No one has yet been hired to replace Ms Longstone, who quit after her relationship with Education Minister Hekia Parata became "strained".

She had only been in the job 13 months when she announced her intention to quit, in December. Her final day on the job was February 8.

Under her leadership, the Ministry of Education had a number of embarrassments, including including public battles over National Standards, discrepancies in the Christchurch schools merger and consultation process, as well as the Novopay saga.

Peter Hughes took over as acting secretary on February 9.

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