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Changes To Remuneration Authority Act

Hon Chris Hipkins

Minister of State Services

The Government will today introduce legislation that will enable the Remuneration Authority to make temporary reductions to the salaries of elected politicians and senior public officials.

In April, the Prime Minister announced that all Ministers will take a 20 percent pay cut for six months.

The pay of Ministers and many senior public officials are set according to the Remuneration Authority Act 1977.

The Remuneration Authority Act will be amended to allow the Authority to temporarily decrease the pay of Ministers as agreed by Cabinet on 15 April,” State Services Minister Chris Hipkins said.

“It will also allow the Remuneration Authority for a limited time, to make a temporary determination that results in a reduction in pay up to 20% for six months for a group of top public officials covered by the Act, including MPs and elected local government members.

“We are aware that a number of elected local government leaders have also indicated they would like to take a temporary pay cut. This legislation will allow the Authority the discretion to do that.

“There is significant variation in the level of pay across the various roles the Remuneration Authority sets salaries for. The Authority will have the discretion to determine which reductions may be appropriate, and if they feel appropriate, apply different deductions to different roles.

“This latest move is on top of actions the Government has already announced, including a 20 percent salary reduction for Public Service Chief Executives for six months followed by a pay freeze to 30 June 2021.

“These are short-term measures as we respond to a 1-in-100 year shock to our society and economy. It’s about showing leadership at a time when many New Zealanders in the private sector are losing their jobs or facing pay cuts.

“This isn’t about pay cuts at the front line. As we start to get our country moving again, we don’t want people on low and middle incomes to bear the brunt.

“We will continue to work towards fair pay for lower-paid workers, especially the people we have been relying on as essential workers,” Chris Hipkins said.

The Remuneration Authority (COVID-19 Measures) Amendment Bill is expected to be passed on Friday.

Notes to editors:

Positions included in the proposed amendment to the Remuneration Authority Remuneration Authority (COVID-19 Measures) Amendment Bill are:

Members of Parliament

Including the Prime Minister, Ministers and Parliamentary Undersecretaries

Others who are part of the Executive branch

The Solicitor-General

The State Services Commissioner and Deputy State Services Commissioner

The Chief Parliamentary Counsel

The Commissioner of Police and The Deputy Commissioner of Police

The Chief of Defence Force, The Chief of Navy, the Chief of Air Force, the Chief of Army

Officers of Parliament and Related Officers –

The Controller and Auditor-General and the Deputy Controller and Auditor-General

The Ombudsmen

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

The Chief Executive of the Parliamentary Service

The Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Local Government Elected Officials –

Mayors, deputy mayors, chairpersons, deputy chairpersons and members of local authorities.

Independent Crown Entities and Corporations Sole –

The Retirement Commissioner

The Children’s Commissioner

the Privacy Commissioner and Deputy Privacy Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner, the Mental Health Commissioner and Deputy Health and Disability Commissioners

The Chief Censor of Film and Literature and the Deputy Chief Censor of Film and Literature

Members of:

the Commerce Commission (and associate members),

the Broadcasting Standards Authority,

Drug Free Sport New Zealand,

the Electricity Authority,

the Electoral Commission,

the External Reporting Board,

the Financial Markets Authority (and associate members),

the Climate Change Commission,

the Human Rights Commission (and alternate members) and the Director of Human Rights Proceedings or his or her alternate,

the Law Commission,

the Takeovers Panel,

the Transport Accident Investigation Commission,

the Criminal Cases Review Commission,

the Electricity Authority,

the New Zealand Productivity Commission.

The Māori Trustee

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