Labour continues to return the public service to the 1970s

Chris Hipkins Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Labour’s ideological lurch towards the 1970s industrial era continues with Chris Hipkins announcing that bonuses will no longer be paid to top performing civil servants: Quote:

The Government is stripping public service bosses of their performance bonuses, a move it expects will help save the country $4 million.

State Services Minister Chris Hipkins announced the end to performance pay on Tuesday, a day after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a year-long freeze on MPs’ salaries.

Until now public service chief executive remuneration packages have included the potential to receive a discretionary payment of up to 15 per cent for “exceptional performance”.

“The decision to remove performance pay, in addition to dialling back pay settings, including the appointment and re-appointment of chief executives at lower points in the remuneration range, will put the brakes on the growth rate of chief executive pay,” Hipkins said.

The changes were expected to reduce the total potential spending on chief executive remuneration by up to $4m by 2022.

“We want a Public Service with an international reputation for excellence that is motivated by a spirit of service to the community.”

All chief executives of core public service agencies, whose remuneration is set by the State Services Commissioner, have agreed to the changes, and have signed new individual employment agreements. End quote.

Wow, a whole $4 million in savings. That’ll run social welfare for all of 5 minutes. Quote:

Hipkins said research showed individualised performance pay was not an effective incentive for higher performance for complex roles.

“The Government also believes that performance pay is counter-productive to achieving the collaborative, team-based approach, and collective leadership that is critical to achieving better outcomes for New Zealanders.”

The changes also did away with an “at risk” component, which meant bosses’ salaries could be docked by up to 10 per cent.

There would still be the potential for pay increases, but they would not be “significant performance bonuses”.

“We want to make sure chief executives were working in a collaborative way, and I think performance-based pay cuts against that.” End quote.

We can’t have chief executives performing now can we. Why would they work collaboratively when there is no incentive to do so.

What we are seeing is a return to Gliding On-style public service. Quote:

Hipkins said he had trust in the public service to deliver the outcomes New Zealanders and the Government were looking for, but there needed to be downward pressure at the top end on salaries.

Hipkins said the raft of measures to bring down top public sector earners were “symbolic”.

I think the symbolism is important, because what it’s saying is that we acknowledge the growth of those on the highest incomes, and the broadest public service definition possible, has been growing too fast, relative to the people who work at the lowest levels of pay in the public service.

“We want to raise the pay of people at the bottom, but we also do want to see some downward pressure at the top.” End quote.

Symbolic? Why even bother. That is all this government does, symbolism. Why don’t they actually do something meaningful instead of all these symbolic gestures and conversations and inquiries and focus groups.

The government is becoming a farce. Saving $4million is a joke. I can think of better and more meaningful ways to save a whole lot more than $4million.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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