A former TVNZ broadcaster says "people would be horrified" to learn the salaries paid to the state broadcaster's stars after the BBC was forced to reveal its biggest pay packets.
The BBC this week disclosed what its top earners are paid, sparking controversy in the Isles.
The list is topped by Chris Evans who earned up to $3.98 million last year followed by Gary Lineker on $3.18m with the top 10 paid around $15m in salary between them - but Claudia Winkleman is the only woman among them on up to $882,895.
Newstalk ZB host Marcus Lush said on Marcus Lush Nights that if TVNZ was to take the same step as the BBC and reveal what it pays its stars people would be shocked.
"I think if the salaries were revealed people would be to a large degree horrified.
"They would say things like how hard could it be to read from the autocue for 44 minutes a day... and some of those queries and concerns would be totally justified."
A statement in response to Lush's comment from a TVNZ spokeswoman said the salaries at the state broadcaster are revealed every year in its annual report.
"We disclose the individual remuneration details of our directors and chief executive, plus the amounts paid to all employees above $100,000.
"TVNZ tightly manages all costs and its total labour cost has reduced year-on-year, every year since 2012."
Lush presented late night TV2 news show Newsnight in the 1990s.
Yesterday, TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said there was a difference between what broadcasters are paid in the UK and New Zealand. "Their top end is more than what you expect in New Zealand, but less than what you see in the US."
TVNZ and RNZ, New Zealand's two state broadcasters, said yesterday they won't follow the BBC and reveal top presenters' pay.
RNZ head of communications John Barr told the Herald the scales of salaries between RNZ and BBC are "quite different."
"RNZ is required to meet Government statutory obligations relating to remuneration reporting and it does so every year in the annual report. RNZ releases details of the range and numbers of employees earning in excess of $100,000 by $10,000 bands in its annual report," Barr said.
"Names are not included in the annual reporting apart from separate disclosure of Board of Directors fees," he said.
Kenrick stressed that TVNZ is Government owned but not taxpayer funded.
"It's important that any organisation that is spending tax payer money is accountable for how that money is spent," Kenrick said.
"There needs to be sufficient transparency to highlight that accountability and that probably needs to be balanced against the rights to privacy for the employees in the business," he said.