by Philip Ferguson
On Monday (June 15) the NZ Herald published the latest figures on CEO salaries. The paper noted, “The bosses of New Zealand’s biggest companies enjoyed an average pay rise of 10 per cent last year, their biggest bump since 2010.” By contrast, the average wage and salary earner gained an average increase of only 3 percent and many workers have not had a pay rise at all. Moreover, as Council of Trade Unions secretary Sam Huggard noted the same day, “Half of New Zealand’s households receive no more income, in real terms, than a generation ago.”
The highest-paid executive is ANZ New Zealand CEO David Hisco who was paid $4.27 million, up about $250,000 from the previous year. This is the same guy who last October was offering bank workers a 2 percent pay rise, while he was on about $2,152 an hour, about 86 times the hourly rate of long-serving frontline staff. (See here for our report on the ANZ workers’ dispute.)
The next highest-paid exec is Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings on $4.18 million, a massive $660,000 increase on 2014. Just over a fortnight ago, the Herald reported of Fonterra’s payout to farmers, “$4.40, the current season’s farmgate milk price is the lowest in eight years.” So it would appear that the massive pay increase – the increase alone amounts to what a dozen workers on the median income would earn in an entire year! – is clearly not due to delivering a great performance to Fonterra’s farmer-owners.
The highest-paid CEOs, moreover, enjoyed far more than 10 percent pay hikes. The biggest rise in percentage terms was for Alex Sodi, the boss of Diligent Board Member Services – his increase was a whopping 174 percent. Meridian Energy boss Mark Binns saw his pay rise by 70 percent to $1.86 million, while Mighty River Power’s Doug Heffernan got a 68 percent rise, taking his final year’s pay to $2.18 million.
The CTU has also pointed out that it’s not just the top CEOs who are doing so well, but the wider layer of wealthy: “The average income of the top 0.1% is estimated to have risen from $665,000 to $892,000 between 2011 and 2013 (latest available figures from IRD).” Unlike CEOs, who get replaced, these folks Read the rest of this entry »