Percentage increases widen wage gap
I spent many years at the New Zealand Shareholders Association recommending a move away from increasing wages and salaries using percentages rather to a dollar figure.
It preferred to go for, say, a 10 per cent increase than a dollar number.
As an example, to tell shareholders and employees the CEO increase went from $1,000,000 to $1,100,000 would look bad when the average employee received, say, $2000.
Saying 10 per cent did not draw the same attention.
It has been the major reason the gap between the average employee and those at the top has widened, with little or no relevance to productivity.
When a cost of living increase is announced, it should be the same dollar figure for everyone.
As an example if the average wage is $60,000 and the increase comes to $1800 or 3 per cent, why should a CEO on $1,000,000 get $30,000?
When reviewing all fees, salaries etc. I recommend showing dollar figures not percentages. It will slow down the gap between those at the top and the average employee.
You are unlikely to see such large increases in pay being handed out unless it can be show it can be justified as the result of exceptional performance.
Des Hunt, Mission Bay.
I was horrified, but not surprised, to read (NZ Herald, May 7) about burnout in hospital specialists.
This is clearly due to chronic staffing shortages, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists reporting that New Zealand is short of 1000 specialists.
Equally clearly, hospitals are unable to attract doctors from overseas or retain enough of the ones we grow at home. And no wonder, given the working conditions described, which are far more important than salaries.
Putting aside the fact that specialists can double their salaries by going to Australia, the fact they will have good staffing levels to share the burdens has become critical.
So how is New Zealand to grow its own staffing levels? The Government's response has been to raise taxes and freeze salaries, suggesting that specialist recruitment figures low in their priorities and continuing burnout doesn't bother them at all.
This will all be to the benefit of Australia's health system as our excellent doctors sign up by the planeload, and our local hospitals go into a decline it may prove impossible to reverse.
John Roy, anaesthetist, Ōmokoroa.
It's doubtful a Krispy Kreme or a free beer will overcome vaccine hesitancy in America (NZ Herald editorial, May 11). Donuts and beer won't help to reduce ignorance and fear, but specifically targeted education programmes just might.
I have a miraculous incentive far more effective than meat pies and Speights.
New Zealand could achieve herd immunity in record time if every vaccinated person had the opportunity to throw a rotten egg at Trevor Mallard - a certain, righteous symmetry.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
The stabbings at a Dunedin supermarket (NZ Herald, May 11) is a wakeup call for all New Zealanders. Over the past few years there have been increased abuse and attacks towards doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, teachers, police and service staff. In every community on a daily basis there can be observed aggressive and impatient behaviour and a lack of respect towards others. Many of these behaviours have much to do with a growing me, me, me attitude and a total lack of a social conscience. You see these behaviours on a daily basis on our roads and where people are queuing or waiting for service. It is time for all New Zealanders to speak up where ever they observe aggressive and disrespectful behaviours towards others. If we don't all do our bit we are in danger of losing our uniqueness, which makes us proud to be New Zealanders.
Michael Irwin, Albany.
The recent report of the Office of the Auditor General, (OAG), "Management of the wage subsidy scheme" reported flawed reviews of the validity of payments totalling $13 billion paid for Covid - 19 related relief to 1.8 million employees.
Many of these grants, made in haste, were overpaid. A significant number have yet to be repaid by the firms and individuals concerned.
The OAG's report records the outcome of two reviews, one conducted by MSD and the other by themselves. The OAG's report includes the observation that "they were not persuaded that the reviews have identified all applications that need further investigation" and, that the MSD review ..."did not involve substantiating the facts". Hardly a satisfactory outcome when the huge sums of public money are considered.
The emergency nature of the pandemic payments justified some haste at the time they were paid. MSD must now compensate for this factor and administer a further rigorous review conducted to a much higher standard ... by fully identifying all relevant applications and ... by substantiating all of the facts of these cases.
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Several years ago after a gastroscopy, I was informed that I had cell changes in my stomach (precancerous). Because I was a Pakeha woman, I would not receive follow-up treatment despite the fact that one of my great aunts had died of stomach cancer.
When I pushed further I was informed that, if I was Asian or Māori, I would be automatically followed up but, as a Pakeha woman, I would only get a follow-up if I had increased symptoms.
As I already have some symptoms, and further symptoms could signal it had advanced to a stage where treatment would be unlikely to be successful, I was stunned.
Now as a registered nurse (no longer practising), I am aware that Māori do have an increased mortality rate from this disease but other factors come into play as a causative reason and, I would have assumed that once there were precancerous cells, all would be treated equally
T B Potroz, Birkenhead.
Why does Dr Ron Baker (NZ Herald, May 11), who has worked in healthcare for 40 years, not recognise that the inequities in our health system are evidence of systemic racism? Easy.
He sees that the statistics clearly show disparities for Māori. However, he doesn't understand that the failures result from systems designed in keeping with his own cultural paradigm, one he is very comfortable with.
Debora Lee, Pt Chevalier.
What planet is this Government on to keep refusing foreign workers in for the rural sector (at no expense to the taxpayer) on the premise that there are unemployed people locally ready and willing to work.
As most employers would tell them, there are no local ready and willing workers. There are certainly unemployed people, but most are not employable or interested in work. And I speak from experience.
If Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor actually believes these people exist, please pass their contact details to organisations in the agricultural and horticultural sectors who are screaming out for workers.
The rural sector has been the lifeblood of New Zealand exports and overseas funds for years, but especially over the past two years of Covid lockdowns, and this government seems to have turned their backs on the sector. Now we see them shafting our nurses and teachers. Who's next?
Mark Spackman, Ōpōtiki.
The Covid epidemic shares a positive side with the Colonial Pipeline fuel-distribution, cyber attack in the US.
Both caused the shutdown and reduction in the world's highest, per-capita burning of fossil fuels now for more than a century.
These disruptions must help reduce the damage done to our atmosphere.
Though a poignant irony of the current pandemic, which vaccinated travellers want to quickly reverse, our skies were never so clear of gas emissions with factories closed and vehicles stationary due to lockdowns and worker fears.
Curbing climate change has had unwitting, unusual and powerful accomplices.
Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
Short & sweet
Dentally speaking the rest of the world would give their eye teeth to live here and not just because of Covid. Could we temper letters of discontent with this in mind? David Tolmie, Mt Eden.
How will the new laws take any firearms from people who do not have a licence? Mike Wells, Kawerau.
As a professional engineer, proud of his contributions to society, my husband cannot understand why the controversy over his number plate, NGR. Linley Jones, Half Moon Bay.
Thank you Dr Ron Baker (NZ Herald, May 11) for telling it as it is. It is important that we hear from the professionals who are working at the coalface. Sue Jamieson, Napier.
There is an expensive-looking TV ad exhorting us to get the Covid vaccines. It's very convincing but many of us have no idea where or when these vaccines are to be administered. Janet Boyle, Ōrewa.
John Bracken, who managed to defraud IRD out of $17.3m, had his wife assist him at trial due to his literacy problems. Obviously, his maths was okay though. Brenda Barnes, St Heliers.
The wage block is a retrograde step. The country needs fully trained workers and New Zealand should be encouraging them. Sheila Sivyer, Pukekohe.