EQC chief gets a $70,000 pay rise

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2012

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Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson has received a pay rise of about $70,000 in the past year, despite the commission failing to meet its customer satisfaction targets.

Simpson's salary rose from a band of $330,000 to $339,999 in the June 2011 year to $400,000 to $409,999 in the June 2012 year, State Services Commission records show.

In the year to June 2012, 26 EQC employees, of a staff of 1154 at June 30, were receiving salaries of $100,000 or more - double the 13 in the year before. The commission said "several contract positions became fixed-term and additional middle management roles were created in claims processing".

Salaries of $100,000 or more are reported in bands of $10,000.

Total pay includes any benefit received, such as performance pay, employer contributions to superannuation and the value of the use of a vehicle.

EQC chairman Michael Wintringham said decisions about the chief executive's salary were made by the commission's board in consultation with the state services commissioner.

"A component of Mr Simpson's pay is performance-related. In line with state sector practice, I do not comment publicly on the performance of the chief executive, including how much of the performance pay he received," Wintringham said.

The commission's annual report for the year to June 2012 shows it did not meet some of its targets on performance for customers.

The target was to have customer satisfaction higher than the average for the public service.

The quarterly surveys reveal satisfaction of 55 per cent of customers saying they were either satisfied or very satisfied with its performance - below the 70 per cent target.

The EQC has a target of telling 90 per cent of claimants the value of their claims within nine months of lodging the claim when there are more than 100,000 claims.

It said that for the year to June 30, 2011, it met the timing for 70 per cent of claims but not 90 per cent, and it did not report on the year to June 2012 because it said the 270-day period from the latest claimable "event" on December 23 had not expired by June 2012.

Another target not met was for claims-handling costs to be less than 10 per cent of payout.

Claims-handling costs, excluding project management costs, were 11.8 per cent of payout to date for the Canterbury earthquakes.

EQC, however, has seen a big decline in staff numbers since the quakes.

An EQC spokesman said there were now 1108 staff, 712 fewer than at the end of October last year.

Before the earthquakes there were 22 employees, he said.

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Christchurch City councillor Glenn Livingstone said Simpson's pay rise was "outrageous" and "totally inappropriate" because EQC had not met its targets.

Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network (WeCan) spokesman Mike Coleman said officials should not be receiving such large pay rises at the moment.

"Thousands of people have been complaining about EQC for years so to give the CEO a pay rise . . . it's absolutely ludicrous."

- The Press

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