Union criticises pay disparity as MidCentral chief executive earns close to half a million
MidCentral DHB's chief executive will earn close to $500,000 this year, while her predecessor received a payout of nearly $100,000 when he left.
The pay rates have come under fire from a doctors' union, which has criticised it in light of long-running issues with junior doctors.
Figures were released by the State Services Commissioner, who sets guidelines for public sector pay.
MidCentral chief executive Kathryn Cook received $480,000 to $489,999 for 2015-2016.
Cook took over from former chief executive Murray Georgel in May 2015.
Georgel received a final payout of $95,197 as a result of accrued leave when he left.
Cook and Georgel did not want to comment.
There was no pay change between 2014 and 2016.
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell said health bosses were continuing to get higher pay rises than they were prepared to give others.
"Once again we're seeing that the level of pay rises being handed to the people running our public hospitals is out of sync with what is being offered to those doing front line clinical and other work."
Powell estimated that the remuneration increase was on average 2.2 per cent in the year from June 2015 to June 2016, excluding end-of-contract payments.
He also estimated that between June 2010 and June 2015, the increase was an average of 20.6 per cent.
Remuneration for other DHB chief executives included $610,000 to $619,999 for Auckland's, Canterbury's getting $580,000 to $589,999, Whanganui's $370,000 to $379,999, and South Canterbury's $290,000 to $299,999.
The State Services Commission referred to a press release quoting commissioner Peter Hughes.
"Public service chief executives have big and challenging roles that are critical to the lives and wellbeing of all New Zealanders," Hughes said.
"How we pay the leaders of our public service requires a careful balance to make sure we are being fair to the chief executives themselves, recognising the jobs they do, while we are also being fair to the taxpayers who pay the bill."
Hughes said they could not confirm Powell's figures.
The 2016 Senior Pay Report stated that pay should have "modest increases" that were performance-related, and take account of business issues such as recruitment, retention and affordability.
"Remuneration changes across the state sector are expected to be met within existing funding levels, demonstrate value for money, and not get ahead of the private sector."
Government politicians refused to weigh in on the issue.
Duty minister Paul Goldsmith said the Government did not take control over pay rises.
"District health boards hire their chief executives and set their salaries. The State Services Commissioner's role is to provide advice on salary ranges and individual pay to ensure that chief executives in DHBs receive salaries that are not out of line with the pay levels in the rest of the broader state sector."
Goldsmith would not comment on chief executives receiving a pay jump while several DHBs were battling deficits.
Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman was unavailable for comment.
A MidCentral DHB spokesman said actual remuneration received could fluctuate from year to year.
This depended partly on the timing of pay periods.
By the numbers:
Nurses with one to five years' experience: $47K-$68K per year
Senior nurses with more experience: $68K-$114K per year
Trainee surgeons: $70K-$175K per year
Experienced surgeons: $151K-$600K per year
Trainee anaesthetists: $112K-$166K per year
Experienced anaesthetists: $149K-$600K per year
DHB midwives: $47K-$70K per year
Self-employed midwives: $70K-$150K per year
Trainee physicians: $70K-$175K per year
Experienced physicians: $151K-$600K per year