Most government department chief executives received pay increases in the past year ranging from 3% to 7%.
The State Services Commission's annual report for the past financial year also reveals, however, that the amount of money available for chief executives' pay this year has been frozen.
State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie says it's important chief executives set an example to their staff about wage restraint, given the present financial difficulties.
The more that can be done to moderate wage increases in the public service, Mr Rennie says, the less fallout there'll be in employment.
He says a number of chief executives approached him earlier in the year, saying they did not want pay increases.