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“Bitter pill to swallow.”

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The generosity of the Higher Salaries Commission to MPs is a particularly bitter pill for university staff to swallow, given that at one time, the HSC also determined university academic staff pay.

Speaking in Wellington today, Neville Blampied, Association of University Staff (AUS) National President, said that since 1990, university staff pay had not even kept up with inflation. “If the HSC had done no more than adjust academic pay for inflation over the past ten years, university staff would have collectively received $50 million more in their pay packets than they have received” he said. “The gap between actual pay and what it would be if adjusted for inflation is now running at about $18M per annum.”

The AUS pointed out that until the late 1980s, the pay of a career-grade senior lecturer was benchmarked to that of a back-bench MP. In 1990, base pay for an MP was $63,500. That of a career-grade senior lecturer was $61,000. In 2001, the senior lecturer is receiving $70,200 while the MP’s salary has risen to $90,500.

Neville Blampied added that “There is overwhelming evidence that university pay has fallen well behind rates paid in both public and private sector in New Zealand, and is severely uncompetitive with overseas salaries.

“The AUS believes that an independent review of university pay levels and structures is urgently needed. We support the Tertiary Education Commission’s recommendation [#23 in the TEAC 4th Report] that a review of staff salaries and conditions be undertaken.

“This should be a top priority for 2002”, he said.


Contact Neville Blampied on 03 3642199 (wk) or 03 332 7160 (hm)



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