COMMENT:

The Human Rights Commission, sadly, is adding to the growing list of government-type departments that prompts the question: are they value for money?

Remotely professional, or delivering on the job they are charged to deliver on? Corrections, the CAA, the NZTA, Stats, Heritage are all under some sort of fire or scrutiny for dong things that raise eyebrows if not dismay.

And the Human Rights Commission has now joined the ranks with a thought bubble that makes you wonder if there is a connection between them and any sort of reality.

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They want public pay scales, they want to know what you earn, and they want everyone else to know what you earn.

And by knowing that, it will be a better, happier world. It is being driven by the gender pay gap.

And they too, in linking the gap to a public pay scale, have fallen down the rabbit hole in believing the reason women earn less on average, is somehow simply solved by paying women more.

You pay women more, if women do more work in higher-paying jobs.

Or you pay women more in lower-paying jobs just for the sake of it, despite the fact those jobs don't actually deserve more money because the market place has already worked out what the job is worth.

Remembering, of course, it's the job you pay for, not the person who is doing it. Or you go nuts and have quotas: make women do certain jobs, or only hire women in areas they are numerically short in.

But you are battling common sense, and trying to invent solutions to a natural circumstance we have simply decided in these weird and wonderful PC times we need to fix.

And so, to public pay packets.

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Simple question: what good can possibly come of it?

Caroline gets $47,000. Steve gets $51,000.

Is it because Steve is better and are you happy to say that? Is it because he's more experienced?

Is it because he came from another company and you had to pay a bit more? Is it because he got an offer and was leaving?

Is it because he has extra skills or more duties? Is it because he got hired at a different time by a different manager?

Could it be any of, all of, or a whole bunch of, other reasons?

And that's before you get to the personalities.

We all form views of others and what we think they're worth, and whether they're useful, clever, professional , hard working or the exact opposite.

That's why most of us aren't in charge of stuff, and that's why those with the purse strings are.

Especially in the private sector.

If your company is yours, is it not your right to pay whoever, whatever you want? How does the commission deal with that?

The simple truth, is the commission along with all the others who angst abut this stuff can't think of a sensible, workable answer to a complex issue which may or may not actually even be a problem.

And because they can't, the madness creeps in and the nutty ideas fly. As far as nutty ideas go, this one from the commission is definitely on the podium.