Editorial: Bosses get even richer

By Mark Dawson

1 comment

Envy is almost as ugly as self-pity, and one should try to steer clear of it.

But I couldn't help but go a little green (and I don't mean in an environmental sense) on reading the NZ Herald's feature on the rewards being dolled out to the chief executives of New Zealand's major companies.

The average pay for our 50 top executives for 2015 stands at a reported $1.676 million per year. They have enjoyed a 12 per cent pay rise from the 2014 figure while the ordinary, less-remunerated Kiwi worker has seen their wages rise by an average of 2.2 per cent over the same period.

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Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff helpfully calculated that the bosses were getting 37 times what most of us are paid.

It's an old story - the rich get richer, and the less-rich get 2.2 per cent.

It's what Raybon Kan would term "a dreary truism".

Among publicly listed companies, top of the pile Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings shrugged off the declining payouts to struggling dairy farmers to pocket $4.94 million.

ANZ's New Zealand boss David Hisco actually saw his salary drop by 2.3 per cent, but with a wedge of $4.18 million he may not have noticed.

Of course, market forces dictate and NZ companies have to compete with what top managers can earn abroad. But even so, it seems like an awful lot of money...

Interestingly, there are no women among the top 50 earners. Is it a case for the equal-pay lobby to pursue, or is it that women can get by with a little bit less? The Herald asked the question: How much is too much? Maybe there is no answer. But the figures point to one thing - a widening wealth gap and growing inequality in New Zealand, and that is a bit ugly, too.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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