Auckland District Health Board chief executive Ailsa Claire's total pay package increased in a year by more than $60,000, or 10.3 per cent, according to data published today by the State Services Commission.
But the DHB says the real increase is much smaller - "just below 1.5 per cent" - because of changes in the proportion of at-risk/performance pay in her total remuneration in 2014/15 and because she received this part of her pay in the financial year after it was earned.
Ms Claire was the highest-paid DHB chief executive officer in the 2014/15 financial year, being paid in the $640,000 to $649,999 band, the commission report shows. In 2013/14 her pay was in the band $570,000 to $579,999.
But a DHB spokesman says Ms Claire's salary for 2014/15 was between $620,000 and $629,000; and the year before, it was between $610,000 and $619,000.
"... [she] has had a salary rise of just below 1.5 per cent this [past] year compared to the median salary rise of 2.9 per cent for all DHB chief executives."
"The State Services Commission model does not take into account the timing of when 'at risk' payments are made and changes to the percentage that is at risk."
Ms Claire's at-risk component reduced from 15 per cent in 2013/14, to 10 per cent in 2014/15, "which meant that 5 per cent was returned to her base salary," the spokesman says.
He highlighted an explanatory note published with the commission's data, which says: "The timing of performance and remuneration reviews and performance reviews can result in one or more than one performance payment being made during the year, and back-pay for remuneration increases."
The recipient of the second-largest pay packet, the commission report indicates, was Murray Georgel, who was in the $580,000 to $589,999 band, although he finished up as MidCentral DHB chief in May and his package from July 2014 to May 1, 2015 "includes payment of entitlements at last day of duty of $95,197".
The chief executives of Canterbury/West Coast DHB (a single role) and Capital and Coast DHB were third-equal, being paid in the $570,000 to $579,999 band in 2014/15.
Geraint Martin (Counties Manukau) and Dale Bramley (Waitemata) were fifth-equal in the $550,000 and $559,999 band. There are 20 DHBs.