web analytics

Pay freeze would cause long-term damage

Written By: - Date published: 5:38 am, September 28th, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: bill english, national/act government, public services, Unions, wages - Tags:

While filling his own pockets with our money, Bill ‘Double Dipton’ English is threatening public sevants with a five-year pay freeze – with inflation, that’s a 10% pay cut. The government can afford to give its workers small cost of living adjustments – the cost is relatively trivial.

Parliament workers recently rejected an offer that would have locked in zero pay increases an reduced redundancy provisions. DHBs are trying to impose zero percent on the nurses. Negotiations at several other government bodies look set to fail as management seeks to enforce the unofficial pay freeze and workers demand a cost of living adjustment. There is a possibility that the government will soon face industrial action across a number of ministries and departments.

The government may find quickly just how hard it is to govern without so-called bureaucrats, and how much free over-time a lot of them do, when they go on strike or start working to rule. I expect that the PSA will accompany any widespread strike action with a campaign similiar to the “Not ‘De-necessary'” campaign in Queensland to show public the human face of the public service.

Eventually, the government will have to bend.

But that’s just the immediate effect. English’s attempt to cut public servants’ pay will have long-term effects. Already, public service wages are lower than equilivant private sector jobs (anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about). People go into public service and take lower pay because they want their work to contribute to the wider good. But that alturism only runs so deep. National’s policy of treating public servants like crap and cutting their wages will drive good people out of public service and into the private sector.

Ultimately, if English persists with trying to cut the workers’ pay, he will downgrade both the quality and morale of the public service. Just like last time they were in government, National is trying to put us on a path that leads to a less efective, less efficent government, and then we all lose.

27 comments on “Pay freeze would cause long-term damage ”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    Do public servants ever NOT work to rule?

    • Eddie 1.1

      Yes. The vast majority of public servants I know put in hours of free overtime every week.

      • Tim Ellis 1.1.1

        Yeah right.

        • Eddie 1.1.1.1

          It’s true Tim. If you knew anything about the public service, you would know it is true, therefore, you are speaking out of ignorance.

          If you call me a liar without evidence on my website again, you’ll have to go find somewhere else to play.

          • Tim Ellis 1.1.1.1.1

            I didn’t call you a liar Eddie, I just expressed a different opinion to you. There is no reason to get so hostile.

            I have worked in the public service before. I don’t speak out of ignorance.

            • Maynard J 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Tim, when someone states something as a fact, and you say “Yeah Right”, that means you are saying you do not believe them and that they are lying. There is no way you would not know that, so you are also lying where you say that you did not call Eddie a liar. Your intellectual dishonesty is really disgusting.

            • Tim Ellis 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Maynard J, when somebody states something as fact, it might not actually be a fact, it might just be an opinion. Eddie expressed an opinion that I disagreed with.

              If Eddie had said: “Helen Clark is the greatest Prime Minister New Zealand has ever had, and Len Brown is the best person to be the next super mayor”, are these facts or opinions? If I had said “yeah right” to those statements, would I be accusing Eddie of lying or just having a different opinion?

              I have had problems with Eddie’s accuracy on factual matters in the past, and I haven’t hesitated to point them out. In this case I’m just saying I don’t share his view that public servants are hard working.

            • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.1.1.3

              “Hard working” is indeed opinion Tim. Whether they always “work to rule” however, is not.

              Nor is this:

              “The vast majority of public servants I know put in hours of free overtime every week.”

              And that’s what you said ‘yeah right’ to.

            • Bright Red 1.1.1.1.1.4

              Eddie stated his personal experience: “The vast majority of public servants I know put in hours of free overtime every week”. It’s a statement of fact, not opinion.

              You said that wasn’t true. The only way that can’t be true is if Eddie was lying to us about his personal experience.

              I wonder how you know the work habits of the public servants Eddie knows. Perhaps it’s another case of arrogance is bliss.

          • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.2

            @Tim,

            I’ve just come off the back a 30 hour non-stop stint helping to keep an essential public service running smoothly for you Tim. That made for a total of 70 hours worked last week, which given that I’m on a salary makes my hourly rate look a tad weedy. (And that’s on top of a pay freeze this year as well.)

            You know where you can shove your ‘yeah right’ spin boy.

            • ben 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Red, so you’re the one doing all the work.

              Thanks, mate.

              You’re the exception. Public servants do not have a reputation for long hours or high performance. They do have a reputation for drinking coffee and calling it work, and of arriving at 9 and leaving at 5. Are you seriously suggesting that is in spite of reality? Please.

              The pay, though, is grand by comparison.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 1.2

      Fair enough if you think Public Service Productivity is too low, but do you honesty believe a wage freeze is going to help public Service Productivity?

      Well qualified, experienced, in demand doctors, teachers, engineers, accountants etc.. are all going to head off-shore or to the private sector. This will leave us with the most unproductive, unqualified, inexperienced public servants and a severe dumbing down of the quality of service business and the public and visitors will receive.

      Then we will be back to trying to recruit professionals from off shore costing us twice as much.

      Not real smart.

      • George D 1.2.1

        National’s aim has always been to destroy the public service, reduce it to a pathetic small core, on the basis of voodoo economic theory about efficiency in the state. If the entire public service went to Australia today, they’d be delighted.

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox 1.2.1.1

          Except they wouldn’t be able to govern. A lot of governments talk about improving PS efficiency then pull back when they realise their constituency are the ones starting to suffer. A classic case for this govt will be MoF. One day we are broke, next day $billions have appeared to build new motorways.

  2. Gordon Knight 2

    Thanks to National New zealand is just now coming to the end of a big recession and it will not be for a while before employment prospects for everyone get better. There is no point in giving its own staff more money because it will make staff in business where the real economy is want more money too. A visious circle causing unnecesary strife. If you are right and it is a big if and the good people leave they can get jobs in business for when National make goverment services more efficient by letting business run them. They would get more money in business anyway so why not. I would not mind it if some public staff can get paid more when they are more productive which they will be when there are not so many of them.

    • Eddie 2.1

      a) you think that the Government ended the recession? Oh, did you know the economy expanded by just $27 million in the June quarter and that was actually just seasonal-adjustment, without seasonal adjustment the economy shrank

      b) we’re not talking about paying public servants more, we’re talking about paying them the same, after-inflation.

  3. communistidiots 4

    You guys are freaking deranged and divorced from reality.

  4. handle 5

    Driving workers into the private sector is precisely what this government wants.

  5. StephenR 6

    People go into public service and take lower pay because they want their work to contribute to the wider good.

    I’m not saying that’s never the case, but when myself and my friends were grads (in a variety of fields) a few years ago, no one really gave a toss whether the job was public or private, we were just interested in the money/opportunities that went with the job. The public (well central government) salaries really were not too shabby.

  6. Tim Ellis 7

    Further Eddie have you got any evidence that public service pay is lower than private sector pay?

    • IrishBill 7.1

      “In the largest organisations, those in the private sector could expect an average package of $1 million plus.

      However, chief executives in the largest public sector organisations could expect an average of $404,000.

      The difference dwindled as organisation size decreased.

      Chief executives in sub-$15 million public sector organisations earned virtually the same $166,000 fixed pay as their private sector counterparts.

      It was a similar story for other executives, with the overall private sector clearly outpaying the overall public sector”

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10600061

      Is that evidence enough, Tim?

  7. StephenR 8

    Further Eddie have you got any evidence that public service pay is lower than private sector pay?

    That was against “equilivant” [sic] private sector jobs, not one sector v the other.

  8. ben 9

    Eddie the public sector is already paid more than their private sector counterparts, according to a Massey study conducted abotu a year ago. True, that was pre-freeze, but the public sector premium was large and it hasn’t gone away. Until there is something like alignment between the two the public sector lead is indefensible. Public servants are free to leave if they find the public sector premium, shorter hours and freedom from competing to win more revenue than they bear in costs too much to handle in the public sector.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to SPREP Environment Ministers
    Talofa Honourable Ulu of Tokelau Faipule Kelihiano Kalolo Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings from Aotearoa to your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional Resurgence Support Payments to support business
    Businesses affected by higher Alert Levels will be able to apply for further Resurgence Support Payments (RSP). “The Government’s RSP was initially intended as a one-off payment to help businesses with their fixed costs, such as rent. Ministers have agreed to provide additional payments to recognise the effects of an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More Dawn Raids scholarships announced
    Details of the ‘Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarships’, a goodwill gesture that follows the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, were released today by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. “These scholarships that are targeted to the Pacific will support the kaupapa of the Dawn Raids’ ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers starting in October
      One-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu starts in October New requirement for RSE workers to have received their first vaccination pre-departure, undertake Day 0 and Day 5 tests, and complete a self-isolation period of seven days, pending a negative Day 5 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt boosts Pacific suicide prevention support
    Applications have opened for the Pacific Suicide Prevention Community Fund as the Government acts to boost support amid the COVID delta outbreak. “We know strong and connected families and communities are the most important protective factor against suicide and this $900,000 fund will help to support this work,” Health Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt parks the expiry of licenses, WoFs and regos
    As a result of the Delta outbreak, driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will be valid until 30 November 2021, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today. “While this extension won’t officially ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 community fund to provide support for vulnerable women and girls
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today announced a $2 million community fund that will provide support for women and girls adversely affected by COVID-19. “We know that women, particularly those who are already vulnerable, are disproportionally affected by the kind of economic disruption caused by COVID-19,” Jan Tinetti said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Next phase of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response announced
    A further NZ$12 million of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response has been announced by Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today. The package builds on previous tranches of assistance Aotearoa New Zealand has provided to Fiji, totalling over NZ$50 million. “Fiji remains in a very challenging position in their response to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Robotic asparagus harvester aimed at addressing industry challenges
    The Government is backing a $5 million project to develop a commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing $2.6 million to the project. Project partner Robotics Plus Limited (RPL) will build on a prototype asparagus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional Pfizer vaccines to arrive tomorrow
    More than a quarter of a million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine are on their way from Spain to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The additional doses will arrive in Auckland on Friday morning to help meet the current surge in demand for vaccination. “It’s been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Young people to have their voices heard in Youth Parliament 2022
    The dates and details for Youth Parliament 2022 have been announced today by Minister for Youth Priyanca Radhakrishnan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Youth Parliament is an opportunity for 141 young people from across Aotearoa New Zealand to experience the political process and learn how government works. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Boosting support for tertiary students affected by COVID-19
    Students facing a hard time as a result of COVID-19 restrictions will continue to be supported,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government is putting a further $20 million into the Hardship Fund for Learners, which will help around 15,000 students to stay connected to their studies and learning. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Immediate relief available for Māori and iwi organisations
    The Government has reprioritised up to $5 million to provide immediate relief to vulnerable whānau Māori and communities during the current COVID-19 outbreak Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. The COVID-19 2021 Whānau Recovery Fund will support community-driven, local responses to gaps in access and provision of critical ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New beef genetics programme to deliver cows with smaller environmental hoof-print
    The Government is backing a genetics programme to lower the beef sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by delivering cows with a smaller environmental hoof-print, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. Informing New Zealand Beef is a seven-year partnership with Beef + Lamb New Zealand that is expected to result in more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago