web analytics
The Standard

Local Bodies: Pay Equity, Rod Donald Was Right in 2004

Written By: - Date published: 1:44 pm, June 28th, 2014 - 3 comments
Categories: Economy, education, employment, greens, labour, public services - Tags: , , ,

Reposted from Local Bodies.

In 2004 Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald made the following in committee speech in regard to the Public Finance (State Sector Management) Bill:

ROD DONALD (Co-Leader—Green) : It is also a pleasure for me to be back after a spirited night last night. I would like to offer Mr Connell some even more PC amendments to this part, and in particular to clause 157, because I do not think that the Crown is being a good employer. It is falling down particularly in relation to pay equity, and I intend, on behalf of the Green Party, to put forward an amendment to fix that particular problem. If members care to look at clause 157(2), they will see that it currently states that: “… a good employer … operates a personnel policy … including provisions requiring— … (b) an equal employment opportunities programme;”. In our view, that does not go far enough. We want the Government to have a pay and employment equity programme, and in case members are in any doubt about what that means, our proposed amendment to clause 157 provides for “a programme that is aimed at the identification and elimination of all aspects of policies, procedures and other institutional barriers that cause or perpetuate or tend to cause or perpetuate, inequality in respect of the employment and remuneration of any persons or group of persons.” That is something that should be incorporated into this bill, because the public service should be a leader in pay equity, for a start.

Unfortunately, to the embarrassment of the Government, not only does the public service fail to be a leader but the gender pay gap is wider in the public sector than in the private sector. One reason for that is that the public sector employs comparatively more women than the private sector, but that is not an excuse. It is time that this Government faced up to the need for a proper pay equity programme, and it is time that it put some money where its mouth is. Senior people in the Government often talk about the need for pay equity—the need for women to earn the same as men for either work that is the same or work that is different but of equal value. I say to members on the Government benches—particularly to those members of the Government with a union background, such as Lynne Pillay and others— that this is their opportunity to show that they are committed to pay equity and that they do recognise that women still earn only 80c for every dollar that men earn, despite improving their educational attainment. So let us deal with the structural discrimination that exists in the labour market.

The Government, of course, acknowledges that we have a problem. It is not even as though we have to convince the Government that there is a problem. It has been doing something about it. Its usual strategy is, of course, to set up a task force, so it did that. The Government had one of those in 2003, and since then it has established a unit within the Department of Labour to look at the pay equity issue and to find ways forward. Well, let us actually implement some changes. Yes, pay equity is a complex issue, but there has been sufficient work done for the Government to proceed to put pen to paper, and to legislate for pay equity. It should take the first step today by supporting the Green Party amendment to clause 157, so that a pay and employment equity programme becomes part of what is expected of a good employer. It is all there in the task force’s report; it stated what needs to be done.

Let us face a few facts and look at why pay equity needs to happen. At the moment there is the classic example of nurses and sworn police officers. A nurse’s starting salary is approximately $30,000 a year, while police start at approximately $40,000. At the top of the scale, nurses are paid just over $40,000, while police earn $60,000. That is simply unacceptable. The Government knows that, and it should be doing something about it. But pay equity is not just about men and women. There are significant differences in pay between different ethnic groups. The average hourly earnings for Pākehā men was $19.88 in the year to June 2003, while for European women it was $16.96, for Māori men it was $16.29, for Māori women it was $14.53, for Pacific Island men, it was $13.90, and Pacific Island women earned the lowest hourly rate of $13.79. That is unacceptable for a Labour-led Government—one that claims it is committed to helping people who are poor or disadvantaged in the community.

The Government has the opportunity today to fix that problem. It can become a leader and fix the problem in the public service, where the average salary was $43,163 for women and $52,436 for men.

It is interesting to note that there was no support for Rod’s amendment, other than from the 9 Green MPs, all other parties and MPs (110) voting against.

Ten years later the State Sector is still not an equitable employer. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Jackie Blue, was concerned at how many Government agencies were too slow at progressing equality. The Defence Department were the worst with men earning more than 42%, on average, than women. Education was also shocking with a 35% pay gap, ‘largely because of low pay to the mostly female special education support workers’ (teacher aids).

It was also shocking to note how little wages had risen for these women in the ten years since Rod’s speech. The most a Grade A Teacher Aid can earn is $15.35 an hour, no matter how long they have worked in the job. This is still $1.61 less than the average hourly rate for a European women ten years ago and $3.42 less than the living wage. It would take 8 years for a Grade B teacher aid with a good level of skill and responsibility to get above the current living wage.

I thought it might still be interesting to compare salaries of nurses and the police again to see how things have progressed between state sector jobs that are gender biased (mainly male or female). The training and academic requirements for nursing are much greater than the police, registered nurses need to get a three year bachelors degree while police are paid $1,372 a fortnight to train for 18 months. The starting salary for a DHB registered nurse is $47,528 while police start on $58,584 for their first year. In 2004 police earned around $10,000 more and ten years later they earn $13,000 more (and nurses will probably still be paying of a student loan). After five years police can expect to earn$76,000 while a nurse will receive $64,000.

I also compared the average hourly earnings of the other demographic groups that Rod listed to 2013 data and came out with the following results:

2003 2013
Average Average Median
Pakeha men $19.88 $29.30 $23.97
Pakeha women $16.96 $24.82 $21.00
Maori men $16.29 $22.83 $19.82
Maori women $14.53 $22.05 $18:30
Pasifika men $13.90 $20.98 $18.50
Pasifika women $13.79 $20.11 $17.00

Pakeha men have done considerably better over the ten years than any other demographic and this is despite the fact that for many years now females have been out performing males academically. Women still earn less relative to their qualifications than men.

What is interesting in these statistics is that Maori women have largely caught up on Maori men in both average and median earnings while Pasifika women have not done as well and over 50% earned well less than a living wage in 2013. The median wage of a Pasifika woman is now about the same as the average wage for a Pakeha woman ten years ago. The median pay of all Maori and Pasifika workers is less than the average that a Pakeha male received in 2003.

The Labour Government in 2004 chose not to support Rod Donald’s attempt to gain pay equity in the state sector. Women still struggle to get recognition for the work they do andthings have deteriorated much further under a National led Government, especially for Maori and Pasifika. The Greens continued the fight for pay equity with their ‘Clean up the House’ action last year and as a number of Labour MPs chose to support them there is some hope that a future Green/Labour coalition may finally address the issue.

3 comments on “Local Bodies: Pay Equity, Rod Donald Was Right in 2004”

  1. karol 1

    Thanks. Very good analysis. No-one should be earning less than a living wage, especially not after a few years working suing a range of skills.

    The 2003 -2013 chart is easier to read on the original post than above – the column headings are out of sync.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Bullying contributes to Auckland being stripped of ICU training
    Complaints of bullying and harassment by supervisors which have contributed to Auckland’s critical care department losing its training accreditation are further evidence of the appalling culture at executive level, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The department had its accreditation… ...
    1 day ago
  • Broadband failure sucks up more cash
    The Commerce Committee has blocked an inquiry into the $300 million rural broadband initiative (RBI) despite mounting evidence it’s a massive policy failure and waste of money, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “The Government is about to spend an… ...
    2 days ago
  • TISA – Another secret trade deal you may never have heard of
      This post first appeared on The Daily Blog You’ve probably heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by now and the widespread concerns around it but what about the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) also being currently negotiated by… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 days ago
  • Health chickens coming home to roost as Dunedin loses right to train doctor...
    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    3 days ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    3 days ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    3 days ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    3 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    3 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    3 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    3 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    3 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    4 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    4 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    4 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    5 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    5 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    5 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    5 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    7 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    7 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere