11 May 2021

Public sector pay freeze: Hipkins rejects suggestion of austerity

From Morning Report, 7:35 am on 11 May 2021

The Public Service Association will come face to face with Prime Minister today to hammer home its resistance to the government's three-year pay freeze announcement.

The meeting at Parliament follows a week of widespread opposition from the public sector.

Under the restrictions, public service workers who earn more than $100,000 a year can expect no pay rise until at least 2024.

It's the same for most of those who earn more than $60,000 a year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her deputy Grant Robertson tried to quell the backlash on Monday, saying the changes don't represent a "freeze" and employees will still see an increases if they move up progression bands.

Public Services Minister Chris Hipkins told Morning Report he thought the issue was being misrepresented.

Hipkins said the move was to focus any increases on those earning lower incomes, and rejected any suggestion of austerity.

"I'd completely reject the notion that this is austerity, saying that we want people on the lowest incomes to do disproportionately better than those on the highest incomes when it comes to spending additional money on salaries is not austerity, it's the opposite of it."