12 Dec 2014

Rennie and Sutton raking it in

4:03 pm on 12 December 2014

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie yesterday expressed regret over his handling of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority boss Roger Sutton's resignation. Today it emerged both men got huge pay rises this year.

Ian Rennie and Roger Sutton.

Ian Rennie and Roger Sutton. Photo: RNZ

Mr Rennie's pay increased $50,000, to $620,000, in the year ended June 2014, while Mr Sutton's increased $30,000 to nearly $600,000.

Mr Rennie said in a speech to the Public Service Association yesterday he had made a mistake in holding a joint media conference with Mr Sutton last month, at which Mr Sutton announced he was resigning following a sexual harassment investigation.

Mr Rennie said he deeply regretted allowing Mr Sutton to speak when the woman who made a sexual harassment complaint against him could not.

The Remuneration Authority today released the salary information relating to all state services chief executives, and senior staff, earning more than $100,000.

It revealed the highest-paid public servant was New Zealand Superannuation Fund chief executive Adrian Orr, who earned more than $800,000 a year - boosted by a $130,000 pay rise.

The average increase in base salary for public service chief executives was 2.8 percent; recent collective bargaining outcomes in the public service have ranged between 2.6 and 3 percent.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said most New Zealanders would baulk at the pay rises.

"That level, so a $70,000 pay rise for some civil servants, for most New Zealanders, that's more than they earn in a year," he said.

"For those CEOs where their performance has been lacking, I think most taxpayers will look at it and go 'well why are we giving them a big pay rise when their performance has been so lacking'."

Labour Party state services spokesperson Kris Faafoi said average pay rises of nearly 3 percent for chief executives were comparatively high.

"When you look at the average core public sector worker, their average hourly increase is about 1 percent," he said.

"So it looks like those at the top are creaming it and those who work for the CEOs are struggling to get any sort of pay increase at all."

The high pay rates mad a mockery of the Government's claims it was moving resources to the front line.

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