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Genesis boss living it up on your money

Written By: - Date published: 6:48 am, April 24th, 2012 - 51 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, scoundrels - Tags: , , ,

The FYI project and I/S at No Right Turn have uncovered what appears to be massive abuse of expenses by Albert Brantley, the CEO of Genesis Energy, whom we pay $1.2m a year. It puts me in mind of Marie Antoinette, consuming extravagant meals worth a peasant’s whole year’s income. And we know what happened to her. Almost as shocking is the small stuff. Lucky Genesis is subject to the OIA, for now, so this guy could be found out.

“The full data is here. And the short version is that Brantley likes to spend Genesis’ money on big dinners. And I mean big – $1000, $2000, even a $3100 feast at Gusto Italiano in Auckland. Those that have detailed receipts show that he gets our company to pick up the tab for $95 Wagyu steaks, $90 crayfish, and $100+ bottles of wine.

He’s also a very generous tipper, throwing around $200+ at each of these meals, just to make himself look big.

Its a whole level of extravagance beyond that which saw Ministers crucified a few years ago.”

The typical Kiwi lives on $29,000 a year. By my count, in just 3 months, Brantley claimed over $32,000 of expenses – and that’s not flights and accommodation, it’s other stuff, mostly food and booze. Yes, he had company at some of the meals, but not enough to justify the outlandish costs.

It puts me in mind of Marie Antoinette, consuming extravagant meals worth a peasant’s whole year’s income. And we know what happened to her.

What’s almost as shocking is the small stuff. We’re paying for this guy’s coffee, his sushi, his snacks whenever he’s out of town. I’ve had jobs that involved a few day’s travel out of town here and there. I might claim the cost of dinner at some reasonable restaurant and accommodation because those are costs I wouldn’t usually face – but coffee, snacks, $2 for parking, topped off with a $95 steak and a couple of bottles of $80 wine? That’s just taking the piss.

It’s not just that he’s claiming things he oughtn’t be claiming because they’re either unreasonably expensive or trivial parts of every day life. What’s a guy that we’re paying $1.2m – $400 an hour on a 55 hour week, $7 a minute – doing spending his time filling out claims for trivial amounts. Isn’t that why we pay him a king’s ransom in the first place, so he never has to pay any mind to the small stuff like tiny personal expenses and can concentrate on the big picture?

At least we can still see that this guy is ripping us off and react accordingly. After Genesis is part-privatised this information will be hidden, no longer OIA-able under National’s ‘Mixed Ownership Model’ Bill.

Btw. Jenny Shipley gets $100K a year to chair Genesis’s board. We should be asking hard questions about her oversight of Brantley. What are we paying her for?

51 comments on “Genesis boss living it up on your money”

  1. tc 1

    I see the troughing has begun in anticipation of being on the elite corporate gravy train where taxpayer money is their money…genesis has this whiff about it having dame JS about the joint is it any surprise

  2. ad 2

    This is where the real fat in the public service lies. The current government is nickel-and-diming every public service that they can find, but as soon as you turn something into a corporation, well, being a corporation means that you get to look and sound and parade with all the vainglorious excesses of Mr Burns from The Simpsons.

    We have see that kind of arrogance in Dr Lesley McTurk, running what was previously the Ministry of Housing, now a corporation. With a corporation, there has to be a Board, and a Chairman, and a Chief Executive, and a corporate structure stuffed with make-work suits hiding behind flimsy processes rather than simply giving you answers.

    We have seen this culture or arrogance, democratic stymying, and chronic waste evolve in Dunedin’s Holding Company entities, in Auckland with its very thoroughgoing corporatisation modelled on Watercare Services Ltd, in the invention of CERA and its inevitable aggregation of power, and of course in Ports of Auckland itself, which would have been cured of its egregious corporate sickness if it had had its company status dissolved and turned into a Council department like stormwater or libraries.

    In fact what they are doing is deliverying public services to the public with generally public money, to which they should be held accountable to the public, for their public performance, so that the public can decide on the levels of service that they get for the taxes and fees the public pay. Without that, it’s impossible to be a citizen with any meaning.

    This current governemnt will continue down the corporatisation path, and the only democratic voices left with the range and speed to penetrate these seething crevices of corporate insets will be the media, both old and new.

    • LynW 2.1

      +100 Some excellent points.

      In fact what they are doing is delivering public services to the public with generally public money, to which they should be held accountable to the public, for their public performance, so that the public can decide on the levels of service that they get for the taxes and fees the public pay. Without that, it’s impossible to be a citizen with any meaning.

  3. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3

    Privatise it. That’d fuck him.

    • Kevin Welsh 3.1


      I would have thought that would necessitate a doubling of his salary and perks to keep him ‘in-line’ with other CEO’s and their remuneration expectations.

      Privatise it. That’d fuck us even more. FIFY 🙂

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3.1.1

        But, who will be paying then?

        • Kevin Welsh

          The same people who pay now.

          Taxpayers/Consumers. Different name, same people.

      • Deano 3.1.2

        Indeed, English has already said that power company CEOs salaries are rising because of privatisation

  4. marsman 4

    Shipley is getting $100,000 pa from Genisis? That is DISGUSTING!!! What special qulities apart from troughing does she bring to the SOE?
    What the CEO is doing is equaly disgusting. We keep being told by Double Dipper English that we have to cut costs in the Public Service, why is Brantly not being held accountable?

    • bbfloyd 4.1

      shipley brings the latest fashion in eyeglasses to the table…. you can tell the smart ones by their taste in eyewear…

    • Fortran 4.2


      Where did you get the Shipley $100,000 from ? I cannot find it.

    • freedom 4.3

      Dame Jenny Shipley is a busy lady
      Director / Chair / Boardmember of ;

      :CERA review panel member
      :Independent Director at China Construction Bank + Member of Strategy Development Committee
      :Chairman at Seniors Money International Limited / Sentinel
      :Chairman at Financial Service Council New Zealand
      :Independent Chair at The Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI)
      :Chairman at Global Women New Zealand
      :Chairman at Financial Service Council New Zealand
      :Club of Madrid member
      :Chairman at Genesis energy
      :Chairman at Venator
      :Chairman at Momentum
      :Chairman at Mainzeal Construction
      and lets not forget
      managing Director of Jenny Shipley New Zealand Limited

      and of course P/T tour guide for Southland dairy and other agricultural investment opportunities

      anyone got others to add?

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        2-3 days a month preparing for each monthly board meeting, plus 1-2 days for the board meeting itself, this for 12+ organisations.

        My word how does she get the time???

  5. John72 5

    “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” (Q. Buddha)
    Rest assured, people on $1M++ will not be at peace.

    • ad 5.1

      Peace is vastly underrated – too quiestist. You get more meaning in the conflict, and in the resolution. It’s an edge that Catholicism always has over Buddhism.

    • Roy 5.2

      Money may not buy you happiness, but it sure helps you enjoy your misery.

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    Dont be too worried that he is spending his time ‘filling out trivial claims’. His personal assistant would do all that, its what they do. In all likely hood its the PA thats buying the small items for lunch.This is confirmed by ‘Coffee Club’ receipts which are noted ‘takeaway’.
    This is outrageous that while at the head office company money ( taxpayers) is buying lunch or morning tea for the boss AND the PA. – two coffees!

    When Key was pinged for buying a burger on his credit card, the ruling was that you would normally pay for these small items when in the office so when you are travelling the same still applies. Dinners/breakfast are different as most people would be having those at home.

  7. insider 7

    I don’t buy power from Genesis so I don’t pay him anything.

    • tc 7.1

      ha ha good one insider, you use power so you’ve no idea which generator those electrons came from unless you’re in the sth island.

      Your power bill has elements all the generators get funded from but you knew that already.

      on a related matter how much is shipley getting between all these boards/CERA etc she’d got a nosebag for.

      • insider 7.1.1

        Well then you could also say I’m paying the cleaners, the traders, the HR manager and their suppliers of toilet paper too, if you want to reductio to far less than absurdum levels. I’m also paying the staff of Shell, Fonterra, Vodafone even though I have no dealings with any of them.

        • felix

          “Well then you could also say I’m paying the cleaners, the traders, the HR manager and their suppliers of toilet paper too”

          And are they on 1.2 million a year while claiming 10 grand a month for food and piss as well, insider?

          • insider

            And there is the nub of the issue. You don’t like him being paid a lot, even without expenses.

            • felix

              I don’t see why anyone in the public service should be paid 1.2 million, correct.

              But my point was that if they are, they sure as fuck don’t need to be squeezing out another 10 grand a month for drinks and nibbles.

              btw, how did it take you so long to find the “nub”? It was kinda what the whole article was about. Duh.

              • insider

                I agree, he does seem to be overcompensating on the little expenses given his salary. Seems like an entitlement mentality. I think most NZ CEOs (particularly in fairly low risk SOEs) are overpaid based on the results they deliver. They get globally or regionally rated salaries but only produce local level profits. Fortune 50 CEOs get about 0.23% of their company profits but in NZ it is more like 1% on a quick scan and well above that at times.

                On the meals and wine, corporations are hierarchical. The bosses travel business or first class and they get better meals and hotel rooms. Same in the public service. It’s one of those unfairnesses we have to deal with in life.

                • freedom

                  “It’s one of those unfairnesses we have to deal with in life.”
                  Man that pisses me off! Attitudes like that are how we ended up with slave/master mentality in the first place. Well, that and the ‘my big rock can hurt you’ bs.

                  The corporate illness of hyper-inflated self aggrandizement, with which we are constantly bombarded, only shows that the real slaves are those who think they are another’s master.

                  Perhaps in some parrallel dimension the true cowardice of these people is exposed.

                  Meanwhile, this CEO continues to ride the gravy train whilst hard working everyday people, who are simply trying to keep the community’s life support on , will be facing further hardship.

                  • insider

                    It was an ironic comment. Hierarchies are a fact of life across human and non human groups. Generals get to ride in staff cars, grunts get to walk. Top dogs get the liver, the rest get to fight over the lungs, mum and dad get to stay up late and watch tv, kids have to turn the light out at 9. You can call that master slave stuff but most will see it in a far more subtle light.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Looks like you’re generally fine with the million dollar rorts, its the beneficiaries trying to get by on $250/wk that are the evil ones I guess.

                  • Hami Shearlie

                    Evil doesn’t even begin to describe bennies CV! They should all be made to jump off cliffs like lemmings. Think of all that money saved! LOL! The CEO’s of the power companies could sure use that extra dosh – maybe for spa treatments, pedicures and maybe the odd botox and hair transplant?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Fortune 50 CEOs get about 0.23% of their company profits

                  What is this bullshit right wing think tank statistics you are spouting?

                  Fortune 50 companies have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of employees. The fact that the CEO, the rest of the executive team and a small number of shareholders might together take 10% or more of the profit result is a travesty.

                  And what happens when the firm loses money in a quarter? Do these people give back to the company? Or do they just continue taking their multi-million dollar pay?

                  The latter, of course.

                  • insider

                    I’m not sure why you are pretending to be angry over something I didn’t write. First time I’ve heard basic maths being called right wing bullshit statistics. I just checked the top 5 or six and their CEO total rem comes out around that number. the top 3 were well under, but that’s right wing maths for you…

              • Draco T Bastard

                I don’t see any reason for anyone to be paid $1.2m.

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  Can you guys stop wasting time commenting on blogs and get on with starting your workers’ collective. It’s not going to start itself, you know.

        • tc

          Steady on and think about it, it comes up in GHG and carbon tax calculations on power being used, how much is from hydro/wind etc and how much from gas/coal etc.

          transpower deliver it from wherever the demand is pulling it through from…..pay your power bill you pay genesis/meridian/contact/MRP simple as that, it’s not a discrete egg it’s scrambled.

          • insider

            And it’s exactly the same when you buy telecommunications where data crosses networks invisibly to you, or petrol where product is shared and blended right up to dispatch from the terminal (and even beyond – I saw a BP tanker in a Mobil site last week delivering 98 octane fuel), and Fonterra product underlies the majority of independent dairy brands in NZ.

            What you are really upset about is that this guy gets paid a lot of money and has a (seemingly overly generous I agree) expense account. Full stop. Pretending ‘we’ pay him in a way ‘we’ don’t pay a whole lot of other CEOs and getting upset over that is silly.

    • Deano 7.2

      you do pay as your government owns the company. every cent he wastes is a cent your government has to borrow or can’t spend on public services and tax cuts for you and yours.

  8. Tombstone 8

    People need to down tool and say enough is enough. No more extravagant salaries. No more using our money to pay for your meals and extravagant life styles. No more abuse of our hard earned tax dollars to fund personal political fancies or to help out a corporate pal. This shit has to stop. It’s going way too far and they’re beyond taking the piss now. They’re robbing us blind and we’re letting them!

  9. Mark Blanco 9

    and we out here starving. send free text messages at textme4free.com

  10. Ben 10

    Good to see this has made news headlines.

    …oh wait.

    Higher standards of government, alright.

  11. marsman 11

    James do you really think Brantley works 55 hours a week? Maybe more like 35?

  12. infused 12

    Well for once I agree. He should get shafted.

    You can get quite capable ceos for half that wage. I know, because I deal with them. Taking that sort of wage, claiming everything else and blowing money on dinners like that is over the top.

    He dosen’t need to impress anyone in his role.

    I haven’t done any reading on it, but if what is said is true, then I wonder how many people know about it… I’d say he will be crucified though.

    • tc 12.1

      Yup in his role he should be wined and dined and be careful he’s not seen to be influenced by it but therein lie the perverse logic.

      ” I had to pay or else I’m seen to be being bribed..” You could always just say no as mose CEO’s I know work hard and go home to families not swanky crayfish diners.

  13. coolas 13

    On $1.2m Brantley lives in a rarified world where he probably takes advantage of ‘specials’ at Huka Lodge which is offering a bargain dinner/bed/breakie for two at $9,000. Be in quick!

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Its actually inhuman to have someone earning so excessively much when there’s poverty within a radius of a few hundred metres of his home.

    So much for “financial restraint”. The right wing always runs the best rorts.

  15. AJ 15

    I am pleased that this has come to light.

    I used to work for Genesis and I was appalled on a number of fronts, in particular the corporate expenses and the arrogance of those in charge.

    Albert does not like Auckland so he spends as much time as possible away from Auckland. This means that the tab is picked up whenever he is out of town.

    The asset swap between Genesis and Meridian was a dodgy deal done by a national party insider working for Genesis (I can’t name but no longer works for Genesis). It is a ludicrous idea and as per form Genesis are now abusing their position on the Waitaki chain at the expense of New Zealand consumers.

    This company really needs to be scrutinised, I left as I couldn’t cope with this going on around me. There are countless other stories. I am pleased that some scrutiny might finally be applied.

    • tc 15.1

      Abusing their position at the xpense of NZild is what this govt does best.

      Wonder what the implications of the waikato settlement on water rights and a such the hydro dams ability to use water for power, would it be impacting the impairment value of an asset under new reporting standards and value of the generator…..another guess probably.

    • insider 15.2

      No the asset swap came out of the winter 08 report which said meridian and genesis had not been playing nicely around trading off risk. This was then followed up by the review of the electricity sector in 09 by a panel. There was no dodgy deal apart from the gutting of the regulator in favour of the gentailer cartel.

  16. captain hook 16

    whats more to the point is all these accountants with high paying jobs are all cheapskates with no taste, delusions of grandeur, fake aspirations and general all round nil appreciation of living in society except the one they have manufactured for themselves using other peoples money.
    did I get that right?

  17. John72 17

    Money it turned out, was exactly like sex. You thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did. (Q. James Baldwin)

  18. John72 18

    The problem of establishing what we are and are not responsible for is one of the greatest problems of this life. We never completely answer the question of responsibilty as our life changes from day to day, so we must continually reassess where our responsibilities lie in the ever changing course of events. Unfortunatualy, this reassessment is not painless if performed carefully and conscientiously because in order to do it adequately we must be prpared to suffer continual self-examination. The capacity for self-examination is not inherent in most of us. As an example, watch two children fighting or arguing. Neither will admit that they might be the culprit. The other party is always at fault. When do adults mature enough to see that they are not perfect and perhaps some of the cause might lie with them? Is it possible that many never mature enough to be able to see that they might be at fault, even if they can not understand why?
    “Every one be queer, except Thee and I, and even Thee be a bit.”
    When did the people in the P. of A. dispute last offer themselves true, sincere, self-examination?
    Only they know the correct answer.

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