Government wants to 'put the brakes' on State sector bosses' salaries

The Government wants to rein in pay rises for state sector bosses.

State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says a law change may be required to "curb the high pay levels of some state sector chief executives".

The Senior Pay Report released today reveals that three boards - Guardians of NZ Superannuation, ACC and Telarc - gave pay increases higher than the Commission's advice.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says increasing chief executive salaries in the state sector are "not sustainable". 

"Pay levels at the top end of the state sector are too high and I've believed that for a number of years," Mr Hughes said.

"The average remuneration increase for public service chief executives in the 2016/17 year was 2.0 percent. The average increase for tertiary education institution and district health board chief executives was 2.7 percent.

"The average increase for crown entity chief executives was 4.1 percent. Over the same period, the average salary increase for public service staff was 2.3 percent," the State Services Commission says.

Mr Hipkins agrees with the Commissioner: "We do need to tighten the reins.

"State sector chief executives have big important jobs that carry a lot of responsibility and they deserve to be fairly paid, but they are still public servants with an accountability to taxpayers," he said.

"It's appropriate to have a look at what can be done to put the brakes on escalating salaries."

Mr Hipkins says he'll be asking for advice on regulatory options for curbing salary increases.