New research suggests state workers are better paid and happier than their private sector counterparts.
The study, issued by the University of Waikato says public sector workers now earn up to 20% more than their private sector counterparts.
Author, Professor John Gibson, says jobs in the public sector are also perceived to be more interesting.
He says non-wage benefits such as superannuation and flexible hours also tend to be better.
Professor Gibson says the gap between state and private sector pay appears to be increasing, due to union bargaining that's driving public sector pay up, leading to a less productive work force.
The Public Service Association is questioning the conclusions of research and says it merely shows collective employment agreements are effective.