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A sincere question about CE pay

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, October 13th, 2012 - 139 comments
Categories: public services, wages - Tags:

David Cunliffe is a courteous dude, so when he’s taking the Government to task for paying a guy $70k just to get the logo on his business cards changed, he’s very conscientious about making it clear that the guy in question, MoBIE CE David Smol, is a good dude and it’s not about him personally.

I have no pre-existing relationship with Mr Smol, and I almost certainly lack Cunliffe’s courtesy, so I’m just going to ask this, in all sincerity,:

What the fuck can David Smol possibly be doing to earn $589,999 per annum?

I mean, let’s assume he’s a hard-working 80 hours a week kind of guy, you’re still talking about $284 an hour or $8 for a two-minute potty break.

As Cunliffe points out, that’s 17 teachers’ worth of pay.  Assuming each teacher is in charge of 25-30 kids, David Smol is being paid the equivalent of teaching 468 children for a year.

It could also be 11 nurses, according to Cunliffe.  Let’s say every nurse either saves a life or helps bring a baby into the world just once a week.  Taking off 4 weeks’ leave, David Smol is being paid the equivalent of 572 lives saved / babies born, plus all the other good hard work nurses do in their daily jobs.

It’s equivalent to hiring one sex worker from an elite Wellington agency to fuck you 24 hours a day for 82 days straight.

Yes, my numbers are silly and probably woefully inaccurate (I’m sure I can hear nurses cackling at the notion of ever getting to take 4 weeks’ leave) but they serve to flesh out my point:  what the hell can a person be doing that’s worth $589,999 a year?

The usual defences of CE pay amount to “but they have a lot of experience” – I presume in some kind of secret military time-distortion facility which makes their “experience” more important than other people’s – or “but they have networks and relationship management skills” – i.e. we’re paying the old boys’ club to remain an old boys’ club – or some kind of “strategic leadership mumblemumble”.

What it always seems to boil down to – to me, as a raving lefty feminist hater of entrenched power systems – is that we have to pay people, and yes, predominantly older, whiter, maler people (though there are always exceptions), the big bucks to be leaders because otherwise they’ll feel unappreciated.

Don’t you wish that worked for your salary negotiations?

I honestly want to know.  What on Earth can David Smol – or anyone – really bring to the table that deserves that kind of pay?  Our own PM’s on a paltry $411k.  The median income (all sources) in NZ is around $29k.  Is David Smol – or any other state CE on the same kind of pay – worth six average people’s annual income more than the PM?

(And is the PM worth 14 average people in the first place?)

139 comments on “A sincere question about CE pay”

  1. prism 1

    David Cunliffe et al are making good points about the princely sums being paid to government heads. Private concerns, profit-making, the shareholders are supposed to have some control about this.

    But government, though the jobs are not permanent and settled as previously, (an old USA joke about a non-performing rocket Civil Servant – it won’t work, can’t be fired), the contract system definitely needs a different pay level at the upper echelons. Not just increasing last year’s salary, already too high, compared to the hard working taxpayers down below from those situated on Plutocracy Heights.

    My comment at number 13 on Open Mike 13/10 is relevant here. I think it would be a good idea.
    Anybody agree?

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 2

    That’s a lot of fucking.

  3. Kotahi Tāne Huna 3

    Hmm. That many people are low paid is an argument for lifting their wages, not slashing someone else’s.

    On the other hand, all MoBIE has done is produce glossy plans with no substance, so the true value of their work is precisely zero to date.

    • QoT 3.1

      That many people are low paid is an argument for lifting their wages, not slashing someone else’s.

      Of course, but the comparison serves to illustrate how we currently value those roles. And I can’t really get teary-eyed over the notion of “slashing” the pay of someone on 590k, it gives me Susan Wood “waaaaa I’m only on 350k to read a teleprompter I had to go home and yell at my children” flashbacks.

      • vto 3.1.1

        “That many people are low paid is an argument for lifting their wages, not slashing someone else’s.”

        In fact however it is worse than that because earlier in this week, the same one this prick got his payrise, these people who are low paid didn’t just stay still in their pay rates, their pay rates were cut !!!!!!!

        To borrow your manner qot, it is fucking fucked and obscene and makes my red-blood boil. Pricks and arseholes.

        They deserve to go the gallows for increasing the pay of the highly paid and lowering the pay of the lowly paid.

        Absolute wankers and c$#ts.

      • ianmac 3.1.2

        🙂

      • Jokerman 3.1.3

        🙂

    • weka 3.2

      “That many people are low paid is an argument for lifting their wages, not slashing someone else’s”

      Except where someone else’s pay is grossly over-exaggerated relative to what they do. You can raise the minimum wage, or the salary of nurses and teachers and CEs are still paid too much. Government ones, that’s money that could be way better spend elsewhere – like raising wages at the bottom end.

      The thing that worries me is that the govt CEs who are on these high salaries (and bonuses) obviously feel ok about it. If that’s the case they are woefully ignorant of the plight of the nation and people who are struggling, and lack any sense of fairness that is meant to be a core NZ value. Surely that means they’re not the right person for the job?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        The thing that worries me is that the govt CEs who are on these high salaries (and bonuses) obviously feel ok about it. If that’s the case they are woefully ignorant of the plight of the nation and people who are struggling, and lack any sense of fairness that is meant to be a core NZ value. Surely that means they’re not the right person for the job?

        Yep, that’s what I’ve been thinking lately. If they think that they’re worth that much then they can get another job. Public servants, including the PM and CEOs of state enterprises, should be capped at $250k.

        • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1

          Nah mate 89% income tax at 10x the median wage = $290,000 pa. It effectively caps income at or around that level. Someone earning $1M pa effectively only has $78,100 extra take home pay.

          And that applies to all jobs, public sector and private sector. Level playing field.

  4. ropata 4

    Maybe its because the mission of this government is to facilitate the corporate takeover of NZ and wealth transfer to the upper echelons. Salary is crude way of doing it. Better to offer share options or bonuses that can be hidden from public scrutiny.

  5. Bill 5

    Hmm. How many $$$$ to flush you conscience down the toilet and be the zombie CEO of Heartless, Fuckwits and Bastards Corp? There’s a market based on that tacit understanding. It was created in and by the private sphere. And, of course, there are a lot of zombies more than willing to take up positions involving moral bankruptcy for far less. But the pay bar was set. And then the public sector head pays had to be seen to keep up with those in the private sphere so the morally bankrupt could be enticed into the public sector to infect it with spread their superior corporate culture.

    Cost: $589 999 (so far)

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Yeah OTT salary. It is part of the state superstructure that maintains capitalism and upward transfer of wealth.

    The only people that seem to get regular pay rises these days are union members (generally miserable 2% to 5% type rises but rises nonetheless) and CEOs. And due to actual useful jobs being constantly ‘disestablished’ union density is likely to drop even further.

    Soon there will only be precarious employment, service workers, aged care, dog walkers and lawn mowing rounds left. Degrees are an expensive dead end with no job, or an unpaid internship, for a lot of kids too now that uni is just bums on seats. More kiwis will likely be semi destitute living with their parents, flatting at 50 or calling a cardboard box home.

    So by all means stick it to the likes of D. Smol who gets the equivalent of over half a lotto win every year.

  7. prism 7

    TM
    To me it seems that uni education is used by the government as a replacement for other more or equally important goals. The idea that all we need is lots of educated people and then enterprise and revenue will zoom is an old-fashioned pipe dream, and hardly anyone smokes pipes these days do they.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    what the hell can a person be doing that’s worth $589,999 a year?

    Nothing. It is physically impossible to do so much work as to be worth that much.

    (And is the PM worth 14 average people in the first place?)

    Nope.

    • Just for the record, I work with a lot CE’s in my professional life and they work fucking hard. I frequently get emails from them sent at 2:00am Monday mornings and as well as their job often they are often members of boards and other professional bodies in an unpaid voluntary capacity.

      I am certainly not justifying the pay (I, like most of us, am not in the position to do so) but I am just trying to dispel the myth, whether it is held here or not, that being a CE is some sort of cushy desk job.

      • QoT 8.1.1

        Cleaners are still at work at 2am vacuuming the CE’s office. IT people can often be in the office on weekends till 3am making sure the CE’s computer – and the HR systems, and the phone systems, and the payroll, and the record-keeping – are working properly. Advisors and senior advisors can work ridiculous hours.

        It may not be a “cushy desk job” but I’m still yet to hear exactly what it is CEs do that provides so much extra value to their roles that they’re worth 17 teachers or however many of their far-worse-paid underlings.

        • lprent 8.1.1.1

          IT people can often be in the office on weekends till 3am making sure the CE’s computer – and the HR systems, and the phone systems, and the payroll, and the record-keeping – are working properly

          And if you are like me then you often work at 0200 or at 0600 and over weekends. That is what home computer systems are for. I had to go to work today, but that was because the build system I’m testing is on the inside of the security perimeter and completely inaccessible from the outside. e-mail systems usually are not.

          I’m forever burning the candle at one end of the other. It also helps to only need about 5 hours sleep.

          Doesn’t mean that I spend more than 12 hours day working. Usually I only spend 10 and a lot less of most weekends.

          • Kotahi Tāne Huna 8.1.1.1.1

            Anything more than forty hours per week steals food off another’s table. It only takes four people working fifty hours a week to steal one whole full-time job.

            • TheContrarian 8.1.1.1.1.1

              “Anything more than forty hours per week steals food off another’s table. It only takes four people working fifty hours a week to steal one whole full-time job.”

              If I am reading you right then it seems you are saying I shouldn’t work anything more than 40 hours per week because, in doing so, I take work from someone else.

              I only get paid for 40 hours but I work much more than that. I don’t do it for money, I enjoy my work and take it seriously. Are you suggesting my desire to work and do well is a detriment to others so I shouldn’t work as hard as I do?

              • Colonial Viper

                Until the unemployment problem is solved 30 hours a week is all that should be worked.

                • Solving unemployment by working less.

                  Interesting perspective….

                  • felix

                    What’s wrong with sharing?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      it will also mean that parents get more time with children and family members. Lots of good things.

                    • Frankly, this whole idea that by me working more than 40 hours means I am stealing work from someone else therefore I shouldn’t do so is bizarre in the extreme.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Well, if you and everyone else who’s working far more than you need to are quite willing to pay welfare instead of wages then do stop whinging about paying it.

                    • “Well, if you and everyone else who’s working far more than you need to are quite willing to pay welfare instead of wages then do stop whinging about paying it.”

                      A) I am not working “more than you need to” I am working as much as I need to do. I decide, not you Draco, how much work to do.

                      B) I have never, not once, complained about paying taxes into the welfare system so you can stow that bullshit right now Draco. I have even advocated raising taxes in order to address inequality in NZ. Do you feel shame when you invent someone elses point of view and apply it to them?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I decide, not you Draco, how much work to do.

                      Gee, and here’s me thinking that it would be decided by how much work needed to be done.

                      Do you feel shame when you invent someone elses point of view and apply it to them?

                      The point of me putting in “everyone else” was to get across the point that I wasn’t talking solely about you. I could still probably have phrased it better so I apologise for implying that you’re a selfish arsehole.

              • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                “I only get paid for forty hours but I work much more than that.”

                And by doing so, you are preventing someone else getting paid to do that work. Doing so for love of the job is one thing, but many people who work extra unpaid hours are doing so because of employer “expectations”, or in some cases, overt bullying. In this latter category I suspect low-paid women are over-represented.

                • “And by doing so, you are preventing someone else getting paid to do that work. ”

                  Completely untrue. I drive my own output and run my own department as it were. If I only worked 20 hours a week then only 20 hours work gets done. I have management over my role and decide how much needs to be done. I work my own projects and decide how to do so. I don’t work more than 40 hours because I need to finish things, I work more than 40 hours because I enjoy it, not because things need doing. It’s not something that someone else could just carry on with, like a repetitive task, they are my own projects.

                  • felix

                    And to be fair, quite a few of those hours are spent trooling the standard…

                  • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                    “I work more than 40 hours because I enjoy it…”

                    Choice! Perhaps you missed the part where I explained this isn’t about you?

                    • I didn’t miss it, I am using myself as an example of why your comment that working extra hours means a job is being stolen from someone else is ass-backward as fuck.

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      That’s what I mean -you’ve got an anecdote about your own situation and that’s it.

                    • Because it relevant you fool. You said: “And by doing so, you are preventing someone else getting paid to do that work.”

                      Which is untrue. And is untrue everyone I know. My brother in law for example is recruitment agent. He frequently works overtime to drive his own business. In doing so he isn’t taking someones job – it’s his job.

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      Oh look another anecdote:

                      “My brother-in-law and I both do this so it must be the right thing. And since we have a choice about it and we enjoy our work, that must be true of everyone else too.”

                      Flawed argument much?

                      “His own business” – nothing wrong with that at all I’m talking about employees, not employers.

                    • Yeah an anecdote. So what?
                      Your premise ““And by doing so, you are preventing someone else getting paid to do that work.”” is false.

                      Then you have the gall to tell me I have a flawed argument? Fool.

                      “I’m talking about employees”
                      He is an employee of the recruitment company.

                      Your premise is false.

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      Yes, I know you think I’m wrong. Saying so over and over again is not an argument.

                      Since you are so enamoured of anecdotes here’s a counter-example: that of a bar manager who is paid for forty hours a week. She regularly does unpaid hours, because on the one occasion she knocked off on time, her employer abused her in front of customers and other staff, and demanded she “get back behind the bar until I say you can go.”

                      Perhaps if you call me some names that will all go away. On Planet Contrarian.

                    • You specifically told me, in relation to my working hours “And by doing so, you are preventing someone else getting paid to do that work.”

                      Your story about the barmaid is not relevant. Sure, that happens but your blanket assertions are false.

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      In your mind. Two others (three including me) have commented in this thread who appear to agree with my personal opinion. Better luck next time.

                    • Truth isn’t determined by popular opinion.

                      “And by doing so, you are preventing someone else getting paid to do that work.”

                      No, I’m not.

                      Better luck next time.

                    • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                      Oh, sorry, did you miss the part where I explained this isn’t about you again?

      • weka 8.1.2

        Actually I think it’s a false argument. The issue isn’t whether they have a cushy job or not (although I’m not going to accept that there are none with a cushy job), and to bring that up just confuses the real issue, which is that no matter how hard someone works, they’re not worth that much money and neither is their work. And further, lots of people work very hard and do voluntary work and don’t get paid exorbitant salaries.

        Speaking of worth, I agree with QoT’s argument that the rationales for high salaries are vague and not particularly convincing. Personally, I think that people who risk their lives routinely deserve a higher pay – there is a direct relationship between being willing to lose one’s life and being rewarded with a certain lifestyle/standard of living because of that. Likewise, for people that give up other aspects of life, like family or socialising, and work long hours, over the long term, esp where that work is in service to others, perhaps deserve higher pay. But there is still a limit beyond which it’s just greed and extravagance.

        And it’s still hard to see how some people deserve lots of money for working really hard, but others who work equally hard somehow don’t deserve the same recompense. Esp when the people in the former group are running a govt department that affects the lives and wellbeing of the latter group.

      • tc 8.1.3

        You’ll find sending emails at odd hours is an old trick, using trigger based rules, to make it look like they were burning the midnight oil. The only oil they are burning is others.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.4

        Just for the record, I work with a lot CE’s in my professional life and they work fucking hard.

        Yeah like the guy milking cows at 4am doesn’t work just as hard. This is just justification for greed and fulfilling a “Masters of the Universe” sized ego.

      • tc 8.1.5

        I’ve also worked with many C level people over the decades and whilst they used to work real hard back in the day they mostly delegate that now and specialise in wrapping themselves in a governance BS cocoon that ensures they are overpaid, take no responsibility and isolate themselves from the real world most folk live in.

        Another example is the CEO of Oz post, he’s paid multiples more than similar CEOs of larger businesses that operate globally without monopoly markets to exploit. But then he was an ex C of NAB so another good old boy so well played sir, bravo.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.6

        Just for the record, I work with a lot CE’s in my professional life and they work fucking hard.

        I didn’t say that they didn’t. What I said was that they don’t, and can’t, produce that amount of value. Administration is necessary but it’s not where the wealth is created.

        I frequently get emails from them sent at 2:00am Monday mornings

        So? Do you think I should have sympathy for their inability to time manage? Or perhaps it’s the SMTP server that sent it late? Or perhaps they’re actually really good at time management?

      • RedLogix 8.1.7

        Well yes it is a cushy desk job actually.

        Sure the hours can be fairly long, but that’s because much of their normal business hours are taken up in meetings where there is a fair bit of downtime. (Yes meetings can be tedious and you have to pay attention but mostly it’s about being on top of the information flow. Besides the lunches are nice.) The downside is that to get all the paperwork done a fair bit of it happens in evenings and weekends.

        But trust me; they do not have that on their own. Personally the reason why I comment here less often these days are the 50-60 hour weeks I’m normally working … as are many other salaried people at my level are doing. In fact many working New Zealanders are slowly but surely burning themselves out working stupid long hours. I know I am.

        All the same it’s still a desk our CEO drives. He’s not to found being dragged out of bed at 2am for his 20th callout for the week, or knee deep in freezing water in a muddy ditch at the end of a 20 hour day to fix an essential service, or any of hundreds of dirty, difficult, stressful or risky jobs that NEED to be done to keep life going for all of us.

        By contrast if the CEO takes a month off … everything more or less carries on as usual.

        Now I’m not arguing that they do nothing. A good CEO is fundamentally a good thing, and they can bring real value to an organisation in terms of ethics, values and leadership. And all the unsolvable shit ultimately lands on their desk … a consequence of the strict hierarchal corporate model which concentrates too much power into their hands.

        Along with their absurd salaries this insulates them from the people within their organisations. Far too many CEO’s really have no idea what their people are doing and how they contribute. Sure they give might make ritual soothing noises at staff meetings … but in reality they are isolated and as a result they become ineffective.

  9. Rich 9

    The US president makes USD400k, or NZD490k, approx. The VP makes USD231k = NZD282k.

    The VPs salary forms a cap on all other federal salaries, so nobody on the US government dollar can make more than 280k.

    We should have a similar rule.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      89% income tax bracket starting at 10x the median income i.e. applies to every dollar earned over $290,000 pa.

  10. Ad 10

    Let me try a couple of points on you QoT.

    MoBIE is the most ginormous entity now, and in the right hands with the right policy mix could turn a whole lot of this country around. Perhaps the pay seems high because its policy mix is pretty light. We dont agree with it and mix thatannoyance in withannoyanceabout pay.

    But then, just as a small example, what if there’s a huge oil strike in the southern ocean, or there’s a policy to e the film capital of Asia and the southern hemisphere, and the whole country gets richer as a result. Does David Smol’s pay feel more worth it? I think it would.

    Same for Primary Industries. Or if indeed there becomes a Ministry of Infrastructure. Or Ministry of Cities that included a massive nation-building programme.

    Surely those bureaucratic leaders would be paid according to their results.

    Secondly the public CE pay rises follow significant amalgamations. They get rewarded for increases in reporting staff, in the scale and number of deliverables, and of course for managing the increase in risk they now present to the government.

    I am not saying I like that level of pay for public servants. But I can imagine circumstances in which they change this country forever and for good.

    If Smol turns out to was effective as Sutch, perhaps he is worth it.

    • QoT 10.1

      Is David Smol creating the oil? Is David Smol setting the policy about our film industry, or merely providing the leadership to implement the policy of politicians?

      And even if he is the magic bullet to exploit those things for maximum value, is he still worth $590k? How about any other government CE who sure, may very well be the person on the ground when there’s an opportunity, but doesn’t create the opportunity, doesn’t necessarily come up with the ideas to take advantage of them … what is he bringing that’s worth the equivalent of 10 policy advisors in the 50-60k pay bracket? Or 6-7 senior analysts on 90-100k?

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      I am not saying I like that level of pay for public servants. But I can imagine circumstances in which they change this country forever and for good.

      Oh FFS

      this country used to have a strong public service culture. PUBLIC SERVICE. Does anyone around here still know what that means? It means you get paid a decent amount, not that much but enough to be comfortable, and you do your job to the utmost in order to SERVE NEW ZEALAND and your fellow NEW ZEALANDERS.

      Now its been totally contaminated by this bullshit neoliberal thinking.

      Let me ask you – if they fail, do they have to give all the money back???

      • Ad 10.2.1

        The era of unadulterated public servant culture went out about 2 decades ago. We may want it to come back, but it won’t.

        • Colonial Viper 10.2.1.1

          Disagree. Society has often swung between an emphasis on privateers and profit at any cost, to more of a mindset of service to the crown and to the public.

          • Ad 10.2.1.1.1

            Not in the last 30 years. And not in the next. Otherwise, it would be great.

            • Colonial Viper 10.2.1.1.1.1

              2042 is going to look a hell of a lot different to 2012. And agreed, it might not be all good.

            • RedLogix 10.2.1.1.1.2

              OK so if think that it’s ok for the public sector to abandon any pretence to civil society then why should the private sector bother either?

              Indeed why bother with ethics, governance and political debate at all? Just take what you can get away with …. wherever you can find it.

              • muzza

                Thats what exists already….

                When the “top job” in the country is far from being the best paid, it becomes rather telling on who really pulls the strings..

                Would that be the elected representatives, the unelected corporate “heads” we now have all over the public sector, or the people behind all of them, who have the power to have made it this way!

    • weka 10.3

      “But then, just as a small example, what if there’s a huge oil strike in the southern ocean, or there’s a policy to e the film capital of Asia and the southern hemisphere, and the whole country gets richer as a result. Does David Smol’s pay feel more worth it? I think it would.”

      NZ doesn’t need to be richer. We have enough wealth here already. What we are lacking is people in leadership roles who understand that resources are finite, and that real wealth comes from the wellbeing of the people and communities.

      • Ad 10.3.1

        If so you don’t really need IRD, MoBIE, much of MFAT or indeed Treasury. Nice thought but bad luck.

        • Colonial Viper 10.3.1.1

          You’ll still need those things, and others, in a steady state economy.

        • weka 10.3.1.2

          Not following you there Ad. How are those departments inherently incompatible with what I said?

          • Ad 10.3.1.2.1

            Those are the Departments that encourage wealth to grow, or bring it into the state, so that it is redistributed by the state in the form of services. If as you say we have enough wealth already, you won’t need any of this redistributive nonsense.

            • Colonial Viper 10.3.1.2.1.1

              But how do you combat the massive upward redistribution of wealth extraction from workers, which is the fundamental basis of capitalism?

            • weka 10.3.1.2.1.2

              Of course wealth needs distribution. I’m just saying that we should do that with community wellbeing in mind as the primary focus rather than using corporate models based on perpetual growth and in denial of finite resources, and as cv points out models that give most of the wealth to very few. It’s about fairness.
               
              There is no reason that I can see that any of those departments couldn’t function for the good of the people instead of the good of the capitalist economy. So you still haven’t answered my question.

    • Poission 10.4

      But then, just as a small example, what if there’s a huge oil strike in the southern ocean, or there’s a policy to e the film capital of Asia and the southern hemisphere, and the whole country gets richer as a result. Does David Smol’s pay feel more worth it? I think it would.

      For somewhat less you could get the head of NASA,JPL,or 5 heads of the Russian space programme.and I suppose that is rocket science.

  11. Ad 11

    Well on the first point as to whether they are setting policy or providing the leadership, of coursethey do both. You would know that politicians are less than 1% of policy formation or execution. Over 99% of any government is run by public servants.

    On the second point, try this as part of a evaluative matrix for pay: how much do they transform New Zealand. That would get you some of the multiplier you are seeking.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      On the second point, try this as part of a evaluative matrix for pay: how much do they transform New Zealand. That would get you some of the multiplier you are seeking.

      ***facepalm***

    • tc 11.2

      You missed out that they are quality people, have an overarching strategy, excell at putting ticks in boxes and always value the stakeholders input in deriving a mutually beneficial outcome.

      Typical corporate double speak behind most events which don’t stand the cold harsh light of a rational day, these folk risk nothing except their relationships with the other boys club network members.

      I’m willing to be overpaid playing with someone else’s money to copy and paste from other policies already written aound the globe but I am not part of that club so will never know those lofty heights.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.3

      What do you think would happen if Prism’s idea was followed?

      Position is advertised, people put their tender in showing their experience and price, people vote on it. The person with the winning vote gets the job.

      How much do you reckon the job would be worth?

      See, I’m reasonably certain that it would probably be far less than $500k. In fact, I’d bet that it would be less than $200k and the position would be filled and done well. I suspect that if the people actually paying executives salaries had a say those pay packets would nose dive quite drastically. You’ll note though that those people don’t have say and we get all sorts of justifications about why those salaries are so high. Justifications that don’t stand up to the light of day.

      • Ad 11.3.1

        Try it and see how many apply.

        • Colonial Viper 11.3.1.1

          Put us in charge bitch and we will.

          • Ad 11.3.1.1.1

            Who – The revolutionary anarchosyndicalists? The trotskyists? Fabian communist essentialist feminists? Is this 1976?

            Go for it Adbusters, ready when you are.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.3.1.1.1.1

              None of those, just democracy.

              • Colonial Viper

                Heh.

              • Ad

                Works already, often. Called a shareholders meeting.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  A capitalist corporation isn’t a democracy. The people who work there have no say. Only the owners do and that is a dictatorship.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Works already, often. Called a shareholders meeting.

                  So each person at a shareholders meeting gets one vote?

                  Or is it only the votes of the richest persons (institutional investors) which really count? Sorta like how the US “democracy” works these days.

    • QoT 11.4

      how much do they transform New Zealand.

      You may disagree, but I personally don’t think there’s a huge role for public servants in “transforming New Zealand” – at least, not in any kind of way that deserves this level of pay. Because public servants shouldn’t set policy. They shouldn’t set the direction NZ goes in, or make decisions about how NZ takes up opportunities – that’s what we elect our House of Representatives for.

      I’m sure very senior managers can play a transforming (ugh, hate that jargon, though) role in their own organisations, given the right circumstances, I’m sure they can lead their people well and keep them motivated as our current government demands more and more cuts … but that’s still nothing that requires such rarefied talents that a person needs to be paid more than half a mil to do it.

      And as I’ve said elsewhere, I know that there are people who are actually passionate about public service, who want to make organisations effective, who would do it basically for the sense of accomplishment and joy of knowing they did a good job.

      • Colonial Viper 11.4.1

        You may disagree, but I personally don’t think there’s a huge role for public servants in “transforming New Zealand” – at least, not in any kind of way that deserves this level of pay. Because public servants shouldn’t set policy. They shouldn’t set the direction NZ goes in, or make decisions about how NZ takes up opportunities – that’s what we elect our House of Representatives for.

        Nope, tend to disagree here. For starters how policy is implemented and how regulation is interpreted and enforced is very much in the hands of civil servants. Ministerial interference in the routine functions of the civil service is usually very bad news and avoided where at all possible.

        Not entirely sure how you define it, but IMO the House of Representatives doesn’t make many decisions about “how NZ takes up opportunities” e.g. it wasn’t up to the House of Representatives to decide on the Crafar farms sale or incentives for Peter Jackson’s the Hobbit.

        • QoT 11.4.1.1

          Of course they don’t make every single decision, but it should be the policy of the elected government, and the legislation they pass, which dictates how and why decisions are made at lower levels.

          By the same token it doesn’t actually matter what CEs do, because the real decisions and work could be being done at far lower levels of their organisations.

          • Colonial Viper 11.4.1.1.1

            it should be the policy of the elected government, and the legislation they pass, which dictates how and why decisions are made at lower levels.

            This is NOT how the public sector actually works to implement legislation and define/interpret regulation.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.4.1.1.1.1

              The politicians set the laws, the public servants then interpret and implement those rules. Anything else isn’t acceptable.

              Of course, the public servants are supposed to give advice to the elected officials who are then supposed to listen and make policies that make sense. Unfortunately, some MPs seems to think that they’re their to dictate to the public servants and to the public.

          • Matthew Whitehead 11.4.1.1.2

            Actually it really is only the legislation they pass that determines it. Unless the law requires a certain action or mandates a certain goal, then public servants, including CEs, are not constrained.

            Of course there’s usually some desire to help the government of the day in its goals in most organisations, and deal with requests from ministers and MPs. This comes about through an odd combination of idealism and the ability of the government to control the budget of various parts of the public service being a very effective lever on CEs.

  12. tc 12

    Good post QOT, when was the last time a C level person actually fronted up and took responsibility for an issue and fell on their sword except in a staged manner only to be well rewarded and given another position equally overpaid.

    Tony Hayward of BP being a widely known example and I’d wager Doug McKay will never take any responsibility for the cock ups at Auckland council he effectively engineered as he came from the transition authority. Follow the trail of debris Mark Ford leaves behind him also, he must be getting about 1.5m of ratepayer/ taxpayer money by now.

    Ah those quality people with experience that ‘work through people’ which was a laughable term I read years ago describing another old boy in Greg Muir, wasn’t he a joy to watch at Hanover, telecom, Warehouse and then pumpkin patch. He meet his match against the Dark Vader of that caper whilst at the Vector trough in the shape of Stiassney.

    • Ad 12.1

      People love having a crack at Doug Mackay and his pay. So let’s go there. He has none of the corporate perks or reward of an equivalent private sector CE, but has spent the last 2 years bringing together an organisation with similar asset base to Fonterra. Unlike the CE of Fonterra, he is subject to full public scrutiny, in the media most days, works like a bastard, and you know what actually achieved something for Auckland that has never been achieved before.

      Plenty say they coulda, or woulda, or shoulda, and he should work for halfthe price, and why doesn’t he pick up my phone and personally pick up my rubbish yadayadayada so says talkback radio…

      Few in the country could have done what he has done, few applied because the pay was a massive step down from the private sector, very few in the world have done it.

      He has.

      He actually earns it.

      And yes, he is well on the way to transforming Auckland, which is 1/3 of New Zealand.

      • QoT 12.1.1

        Few in the country could have done what he has done, few applied because the pay was a massive step down from the private sector, very few in the world have done it.

        Was that really the reason so few applied, or might it have had something to do with the fact that most people could see it was going to be a completely thankless job due to how Rodney Hide’s cowboys had decided to set the supercity up in the first place?

        “Hey people, roll up, roll up, it’s not just a merger, it’s a massive unprecedented local government merger, and by the way half the strategic decisions were made by people who were assuming John Banks would be running the show and selling everything off, that didn’t turn out so well, your workforce is spread across the geographica area of Los Angeles because it was both financially and politically impossible to consolidate even the senior staff into one place, and let’s not even discuss having to amalgamate multiple completely-different computer infrastructures and figuring out how to make all the old bylaws line up, plus all the usual fun times of balancing public opinion with the demands of politicians at central, regional and local levels, and did we mention that we sold this to the people of Auckland as a panacea to all their ills? Have a good one!”

        I mean, I’m the person lamenting the ridiculous salaries of CEs and there’s almost no amount of money you could pay me to deal with that shit.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.2

        He has.

        He actually earns it.

        And yes, he is well on the way to transforming Auckland, which is 1/3 of New Zealand.

        You talk him up real good.

        How much money did he give back after the World Cup opening fuck up.

        • Ad 12.1.2.1

          Write to the mayor and ask, and pull back on the slimy insinuation if you want more than what you’d expect for that kind of question.

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1.1

            You were saying something about high pay for high performance?

            That means pay gets refunded when performance is shit, right?

            Or is your system of top exec remuneration all pay and no accountability?

            • Ad 12.1.2.1.1.1

              You would be surprised, if you inquired, what percentage is at risk in the public sector.

              • Colonial Viper

                Rortney Hide set up the system to look after the top tier old boys network. Who of course want the high levels of pay you are pushing for.

              • What does that matter when nobody seems to consider real problems as a reason to dock someone’s pay?

                Regardless of whether the he has lost some pay: Should he have? If you don’t answer yes, I don’t see how you can argue that his pay should be higher in the first place.

      • lefty 12.1.3

        few applied because the pay was a massive step down from the private sector, very few in the world have done it.

        Few applied because anybody with any sense knows those jobs are reserved for the corporate troughers who are part of the old boys club.

        There were probably a few dozen people employed by the old councils who could have done as good, or a better, a job for a much smaller pay packet.

        And there are literally thousands of New Zealander managers in NGO’s and public sector positions who could do a better job than Mackay who seems to spend most of his time defending the incompetence of the boards and management of Auckland City’s various assets.

  13. captain hook 13

    these rates of pay have their origins in the mergers and aquisitions in the US in the 80’s where CEO’s realised that crummy lawyers were getting a whole careers worth of pay for about three months work.
    CEO’s began demanding compensation parity with the predators.
    so the short answer is that they dont do anything to deserve that amount of money but they can bullshit the owners, in this case the governmen tthat they are worth it when patently they are not.

  14. RedLogix 14

    I’ve pondered what I’ve wanted to say about this all day.

    I work for an organisation whose CEO pays himself very little change out of $400k and got a payrise this year more than some people in the organisation are paid in a whole year.

    It’s a frankly obscene salary for what is not a very onerous or skilled job. Yeah sure he has to attend a lot of tedious meetings and master a whole bunch of ‘management speak’ that he probably hates … but I’m damn sure that if the job was openly advertised (instead of getting a rubber stamp review every four years) there’d be queues of people perfectly capable and happy to do the job for half his pay.

    In other words his actual salary in no way reflects any ‘market’ reality. It simply reflects his power within the organisation.

    It would be very simple to implement a rule that simply stated; no C-level person is remunerated (that is total pay) more than four times the median income of their whole organisation. That’s pretty generous.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Its the company’s board which made the decision, I take it.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        Yes … but the board depends on the CEO to get their agenda and pet projects progressed. Plus the assymmetry of information flow; it becomes a cosy arrangement that no-one wants to rock too hard.

        • Ad 14.1.1.1

          I hear the hard accuracy in your words. Hope you get to get out, or retire early with sufficient wellbeing to enjoy it.

    • QoT 14.2

      It would be very simple to implement a rule that simply stated; no C-level person is remunerated (that is total pay) more than four times the median income of their whole organisation.

      I like it. Especially tied to the median, because I think we know that if you made it the mean a lot of the senior management tiers would be in for a fun time just to skew that shit upwards.

  15. Bunji 15

    “but they have a lot of experience” – I presume in some kind of secret military time-distortion facility

    Gorgeous! Just lucky I wasn’t drinking while I read this….

    No public sector employee should be paid as much as the PM (they have the most responsibility of anybody in the country, even if the current one doesn’t want to take any of it…)

    And I would like to see a rule like they’ve proposed in France where no-one in a company can earn more than a multiple (10x or 15x) the lowest paid employee… Might up some of those lower wages…

    (Great question QoT)

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      And I would like to see a rule like they’ve proposed in France where no-one in a company can earn more than a multiple (10x or 15x) the lowest paid employee… Might up some of those lower wages…

      In the Mondragon co-op, the ratio is normally 6.5 or thereabouts (depends on the specific operating unit).

      Hence if the lowest paid worker in the factory is on $30,000, the CEOs pay would be capped at $195,000.

      Not too rough is it. If the CEO wants a pay rise, he/she needs to give the workers a pay rise. Fair and square.

      • Ad 15.1.1

        If New Zealand honestly lived up to Mondragon I would be proud to live and work here. And be paid accordingly.

  16. Good post QoT.

    Auckland Council has issued a directive that all departmental budgets should save 3% next year. I am against arbitrary cuts but if it is going to happen then I think that anyone who is on a salary of over (say) $150k should have their wage frozen.

    We get sucked into this continuous contest where if we pay the CEO and his minions a bit more we will save more.

    It is not happening.

    Time for the cuts to be shared around.

    • muzza 16.1

      Time for the cuts to be shared around

      Unlikely – The corporate wrappers have been put in place, so the only cuts made will be as follows

      1: To whats left of the elected councils democratic control over running AKL
      2: To the numbers of staff at Auckland Council
      3: To the assets under control of council, for the benefit of AKL
      4: To the services which used to be included in the cost of your rates bill

    • Ad 16.2

      Well don’t complain when the good ones join the exodus to Australia, or Singapore, or Hong Kong or Rio.

      Compare the number of managers over $100k in Auckland public entities now to the number pre-amalgamation.

      • Colonial Viper 16.2.1

        You’re a sick little puppy.

        Pay is only 20% of what motivates a good public servant.

        Well don’t complain when the good ones join the exodus to Australia, or Singapore, or Hong Kong or Rio.

        We can’t match Australian, Singaporean or Hong Kong pay rates. If money is the real attractor to these people, they need to go.

        • Ad 16.2.1.1

          Different scale, same sucking noise whether you are a miner in Westport public servant inWellington, shareholder in the Waikato, or corporate lawyer in Auckland. Prepare to say goodbye to the grandchildren at the airport. Unwillingly, this goes for the whole QoT post.

          • Colonial Viper 16.2.1.1.1

            Tell the top 1% to fuck off then. We don’t need more disloyal money hungry bastards in this country.

            Prepare to say goodbye to the grandchildren at the airport.

            If you are serious about this then you will know that the key is increasing the median income, and ensuring that there is a surplus of jobs available in the $40K to $80K range.

            However it seems that you’re only interested in cheerleading for more money for the top 0.5%.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.2.2

        Well don’t complain when the good ones join the exodus to Australia, or Singapore, or Hong Kong or Rio.

        I certainly won’t. I’ll just look to hiring people just as good, if not better, who will do it for the lower pay rate. Not a problem, after all, you’re only talking a few thousand people out of 3 million possibles.

        • Ad 16.2.2.1

          Knock yourself out with that. Almost all of the good ones are taken or long since left.

          • Colonial Viper 16.2.2.1.1

            Explains why you’re still here shilling for higher pay for the top 0.5%

            Haven’t heard you say a damn thing about increasing the median wage.

            We need people who have faith in this country. It’s clear you don’t. Go overseas and get the pay you deserve mate.

            • Ad 16.2.2.1.1.1

              “almost all.” luckily.

              “Would just love more pay for them as well. But that’ not the focus of QoT’s entire post though is it?”

              Any time someone pulls patriotism or loyalty or faith or any other bullshit abstract nouns like hope or glory or peace or truth during a performance review, you know they are trying to screw you. ask any public servant who has been through a restructure.

              • Colonial Viper

                Any time someone pulls patriotism or loyalty or faith or any other bullshit abstract nouns like hope or glory or peace or truth during a performance review, you know they are trying to screw you. ask any public servant who has been through a restructure.

                Oh yeah, because only cold hard cash matters to the constituency you are pushing pay rises for.

    • Tiger Mountain 16.3

      “Auckland Council has issued a directive that all departmental budgets should save 3% next year.”

      Heh, nothing like a good old directive “they don’t like it up’em”, Crosby Textor put them out regularly.

  17. Jokerman 17

    A ‘status group’ is a group sociatalized through it’s special styles of life, it’s conventional and specific notions of honour, and the economic opportunities it (legally) monopolizes.

    -Weber

    Human status ought not to depend upon the changing demands of the economic process; It is a mistake to suppose that God is only, or even chiefly, concerned with religion; personally, I have always looked on cricket as organised loafing.

    -William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1942-1944

    oh the angst
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_Anxiety
    yet,
    Mr Love And Justice (with a cup of chamomile tea)
    🙂

  18. Akldnut 18

    Lardy Bennett keeps saying that the govt are holding recipients of benefits to a social contract, these moochers should be held to the same.

    Pays are supposed to be based on current performance, but it appears the criteria has changed to “possible performance” or that psychics are setting the pay scales based on “future/possible performance”

  19. Fortran 19

    Does these comments on CE pay apply to very clever people such as Kim Dotcom, who reputedly has earned something in the region of $40 million a year ?

    • QoT 19.1

      Well, sure, on the one hand I cannot fathom how the hell a person ever needs to earn $40m a year, or what they would spend it on.

      On the other hand, my understanding is he owns the business; it’s not a salary someone else is justifying on the basis of how hard he works / how many old boy network contacts he has, so on the other hand, not really.

    • mike e 19.2

      just about all his money has been confiscated so in the end Kim.com is worth SWFA now !

      • burt 19.2.1

        It’s a crying shame isn’t it that an ‘administrative’ bungle can so completely destroy a person’s earnings but it seems to sit comfortably with the policies of envy lefties – he must have been a crook / bad person / thief / exploiter of others etc to have that much right?

        Good people earn buttons and fight the man… yes they fight the man the good old collective union way and they all earn the same.

        Or did I miss the internet tycoon’s union stepping in and shutting down all other internet tycoon websites in sympathy for Dotcom ?

  20. burt 20

    Who decides what a CEO gets paid… who decides what a wharfie gets paid… how much is too much for doing what exactly ? Who gets to decide….

    Opinions are interesting and sometimes quite revealing – but come on guys – who made you god of the boundary between too much and too little ?

    • felix 20.1

      So put it to a vote of everyone who works in the company in question.

      • burt 20.1.1

        All shareholders or all workers. Although I like your sentiment it’s not the way many organisations run felix. It’s not a new idea either though is it. Many times we have seen operations startup with direct worker involvement and they seem to do very well initially but soon seem to revert to a more tradition governance structure… I wonder why that is… Genuinely wonder why it is felix, I’m not baiting you saying this felix I actually wonder why you think that tends to happen ?

        • Draco T Bastard 20.1.1.1

          Many times we have seen operations startup with direct worker involvement and they seem to do very well initially but soon seem to revert to a more tradition governance structure…

          Except for the minor fact that they don’t. Now go watch Capitalism: A Love Story. You never know, you might actually learn something.

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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    4 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    4 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    4 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    5 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    6 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    6 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago