Pay freeze turns into pay frenzy

The Government said the public sector would show ‘restraint’ following the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 and promised a pay freeze, but instead we have seen a pay frenzy, National’s Public Service spokesperson Simeon Brown says.   

“New Zealanders will be highly concerned by the fact that in the last 12 months, the number of public service staff earning more than $100,000 has increased by over 3000, at a time when the public service has been told to show constraint.

“Over the past four years there has been a 50 per cent increase in the amount being spent on Wellington bureaucrats, however New Zealanders are seeing frontline services continue to be stretched.

“In the last 12 months alone the Government has employed over 500 new ‘Managers’ across government departments in Wellington, raising the question how many ICU beds this could have been used to fund.

“The number of public service employees earning over $400,000 has doubled, showing absolutely no restraint on public sector pay.

“The fastest growing workforce has been those in the ‘Legal, HR and Finance Professionals’ work streams, with a record breaking 17.3 per cent increase in the number of positions.  

“The Labour Government has a unique ability to spend more but get worse outcomes. Spending has sky-rocketed, yet kids are getting a worse education, crime is out of control and hospital wait lists have ballooned.

“While New Zealanders are going backwards in real terms with their incomes, the Government is increasing the size of the Wellington bureaucracy, and increasing the number of people on large salaries, meaning less money for frontline services, and more debt for New Zealanders to pay back in years to come.

“The so called pay freeze has become a pay frenzy with New Zealanders once again paying this Government’s bills.”