The importance of the health and education sectors to Dunedin
has been highlighted by figures showing more than 1100
University of Otago and Southern District Health Board staff
are each paid more than $100,000 a year.
Figures released to the Otago Daily Times under the Official
Information Act showed 547 academic staff and 87 general
staff at the university earned more than $100,000 in the
2012-13 financial year.
Of those, 143 earned between $150,000 and $199,999, 20
between $200,000 and $299,999 and one more than $400,000 -
presumably vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne, who, according
to the State Services Commission, earned $520,000 to $529,999
Based on this year's census data, which showed 3702 people
living in Dunedin earned more than $100,000, university
employees make up about 15% of the city's workers getting
more than that figure.
The number at the health board on more than $100,000 climbed
10% to 496 in 2012-13. There were 447 the previous year, the
board's 2013 annual report shows. Otago Chamber of Commerce
chief executive John Christie said the figures showed the
importance of the education and the health sectors to
''You would expect that you would be highly paid in the
positions we have in those sectors, particularly when we have
got senior lecturers and medical staff [and] in a lot of
cases they have to be paid rates that are attractive in an
international market,'' he said.
Having high income earners was important ''purely because
those that are in that position with a higher disposable
income are more likely to spend''.
''It's those people that are earning high levels of income
that can afford to buy properties and other things that the
city has,'' Mr Christie said.
Of the 496 health board members on more than $100,000, 376
were medical or dental employees (2012: 345 medical or
The top earner got between $510,000 and $520,000, more than
$120,000 less than the previous year's top pay.
The unidentified employee is probably a clinician, because
chief executive Carole Heatly's remuneration package was
$430,000 to $440,000. Hers is the only salary identified by
If part-time salaries were rounded to full-time, the number
paid more than $100,000 would swell to 692 (2012: 639).
Executive managers received pay packages (including
superannuation) worth $2.458 million, comprising 9.5
full-time positions (2012: $2.737 million, 10.2 managers).
Ten employees were paid personal grievance payments, ranging
from $64,000 to $2000, totalling more than $236,000.
Remuneration to board members was $341,000, compared with
$328,000 last year.
The board posted a deficit of $11.9 million.
When contacted, chairman Joe Butterfield declined to comment
on the increase in staff paid more than $100,000. Asked how
many staff were paid less than the living wage of $18.40 an
hour, he had ''no idea''. The ODT has lodged an Official
Information Act request seeking the number of staff paid less
than $18.40 an hour at the board, information which is not
included in the annual report.
The board employs about 4500 staff members (3600 full-time
University director of human resources Kevin Seales said the
university had ''been trying to pay our academic staff as
much as we can, because of the competitiveness issues with
He referred to a 2012 report by Deloittes, which showed the
average minimum rate for New Zealand professors, of $US91,500
($NZ111,700), was below the main countries New Zealand
competed with, including Australia, which had an average
minimum rate of $US109,600 ($NZ133,800).
Mr Seales said money was not the main reason why academics
chose to work at Otago - the availability of research funding
and the quality of research teams were more important
However, if the pay was too low it could turn off some staff.
Asked if professors were paid too much, Mr Seales said: ''You
have got to look at what it takes to become a professor. This
is a highly specialised and highly skilled workforce we are
talking about here.''
The university's pay scales showed that as of June, the
starting rate for non-medical and dental professors was
$143,003, with a top rate of $174,609. The starting rate for
medical and dental professors was $176,912, with a top rate
The Deloittes report showed the university's pay rates for
professors was at the higher end of the scale compared with
other New Zealand universities.
All up, the university paid 10,636 employees last year, the
vast majority of whom were based at its Dunedin campus. Staff
salaries are expected to cost the university $340 million