Winston Peters takes aim at Fonterra boss' 'fat cat payout'

NZ First leader Winston Peters.
NZ First leader Winston Peters. Photo credit: AAP

In his first demand since entering negotiations, NZ First leader Winston Peters has taken aim at "corporate New Zealand."

Mr Peters labelled Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings' $8.31m pay cheque a "fat cat payout."

A long-time critic of corporate New Zealand, Mr Peters is calling for shareholders to be able to have a say on the pay received by directors and CEOs.

It's the first public demand made by Mr Peters since his pivotal role in the formation of the next government became clear.

Mr Spierings was paid a base salary of $2.46m, plus superannuation of $170,036, and performance payments for 2016 and 2017 of $1.83m and $3.85m.

"This kind of fat cat payout is why shareholders need to be given a say on pay. Shareholders need to be given the power to hold the directors and bosses to account," Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters is calling for an amendment to the Companies Act that would require companies to give shareholders, including cooperatives like Fonterra, a say on their bosses' pay packet.

Remuneration and pay equity reports would also be required. Executive recruitment bonuses and redundancy packages would be reduced to the same provisions as for workers. 

He is also calling for "seriously penalties" for tax evasion and corporate fraud.