No big pay hikes for public sector, English

Last updated 11:37 16/05/2014

Relevant offers


'Australia has no greater friend' - what Julie Bishop really thinks of New Zealand Greens call on Government to 'call in' major gas-fired power plant under RMA Auckland businessman William Yan set to head back to China for questioning Stacey Kirk: Grim prospects for suicide, as conversation goes quiet Security threats focus of Australian foreign minister's visit Stacey Kirk: tension still boils below the surface but cooler heads prevailing between New Zealand and Fiji Fiji Prime Minister extends personal invitation to banned TV journo Barbara Dreaver Cambridge locals barking mad at MP's response to dog breed law questions Fiji's Frank Bainimarama and Prime Minister John Key 'let bygones be byones' after diplomatic talks Government denies report NZ SAS in combat in Iraq

Finance Minister Bill English has warned there will be "tension" between public servants and their employers, with ongoing restraint on wages despite a Budget return to surplus and productivity gains.

Members of the Public Services Association (PSA) at the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) went on strike this morning, over a "miserly" offer of a 0.5 per cent pay increase.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said staff at the ministry wanted fair pay as the economy improved.

"Our 120 members at MfE are asking for fair pay, especially as the economy has started to improve."

English said "naturally" workers expected wage increases in a growing economy, and Treasury was forecasting that wages would rise faster than inflation.

But this did not mean there would be less pressure for savings on the public sector.

"In the public sector, as you can see, the Government hasn't changed its spending habits, so it's still pretty tight," English said.

"Government agencies have done a pretty good job of finding better ways of doing things, producing better results. They've actually held up their numbers up pretty well, [but] as there's pressure for wage increases, they might need to look at more efficiencies as well."

English said given recent history, he expected "tension" between public servants and their employers.

"These are people who have worked hard," he said.

"They have produced more for less right across the public sector. They might have expected the Government would be lifting the lid once it got to surpluses, but actually we get to surplus because we're keeping the lid on it pretty tight.

"So no, it wouldn't be a surprise if there was some tension." 

Ad Feedback

- Stuff


Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?



Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content