State bosses pocket large salary rises

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 05:00 20/09/2013
Wayne McNee
PAY RISE: Wayne McNee.

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Heads of some of the major government departments pocketed inflation-busting pay increases this year, while the state sector also saw a string of substantial severance payments.

The State Services Commission quietly added its review of senior public servant staff to its website this week, breaking the tradition of releasing it with its annual report.

While the commission said the pay increases were lower than the private sector and in line with changes in recent years, several high-profile bosses got increases of more than 10 per cent.

During the period - the year to June 30 - inflation was less than 1 per cent.

Sean Hughes, chief executive of the Financial Markets Authority, received a pay increase of about $50,000, to be paid more than $500,000. During the year the financial regulator drew flack after failing to uncover sooner Ross Asset Management, a massive Ponzi scheme run from The Terrace in Wellington.

Wayne McNee, who quit as director general of the Ministry for Primary Industries in July, had a pay packet jump of about $50,000 in the year to June 30 to about $510,000.

During that year the super ministry was criticised for its preparedness for a foot and mouth outbreak and was blamed by the minister, Nathan Guy, for its handling of a block on New Zealand meat products into China.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton had a pay rise of about $50,000 to about $560,000, while State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie's salary went up $40,000.

Most of the chief executives covered in the survey, which includes the bosses of district health boards, universities and polytechnics, moved up, although a few had falls.

Adrian Orr, chief executive of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, saw his pay packet - likely to be linked to the performance of the fund - drop by $70,000.

The figures also reveal a number of severance payments, with former ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart walking away from the agency with $171,567 after quitting in the wake of the Bronwyn Pullar affair.

Other agencies had major payouts associated with the formation of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The figures show the Department of Building and Housing, then headed by Katrina Bach, paid out more than $183,000, while the Ministry of Science and Innovation's severance cost was almost $250,000.

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