The country's largest listed company, Telecom, is paying its top executives salaries of between $1 million and $5 million - which is in line with firms of a similar size overseas.
The company's highest paid executive is its chief Paul Reynolds, who received nearly $4.8 million in his first nine months in the job, despite a 24% drop in the company's share price in that time.
Telecom's top five executives received between $1 million and $2 million in the June year.
Added to that, a change of guard at the company has cost it just over $17 million in compensation paid to its top executives, including four who departed.
Remuneration consultant at the specialist human resources firm Sheffield, Jarrod Moyle, says the salaries Telecom pays its executives is not unusual.
He says Telecom is offering salary packages in line with the market in which the company has to recruit employees.
He says these individuals must have significant skills and experience, and some of that cannot be gained within New Zealand.
Jarrod Moyle says companies are modifying their remuneration packages due to the economic downturn.