Criticism over 'unjustified' $1.2m civil servant pay

  • 17/10/2017

The State Services Commissioner is slating The Guardians of the Superannuation Fund for how much it's bumped up its CEO's pay packet.

Commissioner Peter Hughes says the board gave CEO Adrian Orr a pay rise of 35.6 percent in 2015, despite recommendations to stick to just 6 percent.

The Commissioner says - once again - the board has given an unjustified pay rise, exceeding his recommendation by 0.2 percent.

According to the Super Fund's 2017 Annual Report its CEO netted more than $1.2 million for the last financial year.

Explaining its decision, the board said the role of the job was increasingly complex, the fund's size had grown and that Mr Orr's performance had been strong.

According to the fund's latest report, it made a 20.7 percent return before tax in the 2016-17 year and grew by $5.27 billion.

It follows on from a 35.6 percent pay rise the previous year, which saw Mr Orr become the first public servant to earn more than $1 million.

In a statement, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes said he had told Guardians he did not support the size of the increase.

The SSC gives guidance to Crown entities about pay for chiefs and boards, who are required to consult the commission on their final decision.

In a letter, the commission recommended Mr Orr's pay be $1.14m for the year.

"My advice to the board was that an increase of the size proposed was not justified," Mr Hughes said.

"The board made its own decision and did not follow my advice."

But he accepted the increase was closer to recommended levels than in the year before.

"My expectation on pay for public service leaders is one of fairness," he said.

"I do not accept the argument that Crown entities, such as Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, should be able to make decisions free of any public sector oversight or accountability

"This is a public agency investing public money for the good of the public."

Shortly after starting last year, Mr Hughes said he would be taking a conservative approach to top public servants' pay.

Mr Orr marked his 10th anniversary with Guardians in February.

NZN / Newshub.