Monday, March 26, 2012

Not in this together

It is, we are told, an age of austerity, where belts must be tightened "for the good of the nation". Public sector pay rates are stagnant, and the public service is being "capped" to force layoffs. Meanwhile, its CEOs are making out like bandits:

Public organisations have paid about $90 million to their chief executives in a year - with some receiving rises of more than 20 per cent, and one getting a 55 per cent increase.

Public bosses received an average $340,000 each in the last financial year - up $14,000 (4.3 per cent) on the previous year. The median income in New Zealand from wages and salaries during the same period increased $1600 (4 per cent) to $41,600.

The big culprits here are our energy SOEs, who are now paying their CEOs more than a million dollars each (plus bonuses) for their "skill" in collecting monopoly rents, but its a problem across the whole state sector. And it absolutely undermines the government's austerity push. People will sacrifice when it is shared and when they can see its necessity. But when its not shared, when its just used as an excuse to cut wages while those at the top continue the champagne lifestyle, then there is no buy-in and it will just be seen as another exercise in class-warfare by the rich against the rest.

But its not just state sector CEOs we should be looking at. Ministerial pay has increased by $8,700 in the last year. Isn't it time Cabinet practiced what it preached?