Employees who earned over $100,000

The numbers of staff (excluding chief executives) who received $100,000 or more in total remuneration (including base salary plus any superannuation, performance and redundancy payments) are shown in two tables below, one for tertiary education institutions and the other for Public Service departments and selected Crown agencies.1 These figures are collected separately from other Workforce Data reported by the Commission, where salary is instead defined as full-time equivalent base salary as at 30 June. As wage inflation increases salaries each year, more employees are moving into the $100,000+ income bracket.2

In 2021, 18,301 staff in the Public Service and selected agencies earned over $100,000. This represents approximately 28.6% of total staff. In 2020 the number of staff was 15,055, or 24.9%. Contributing to the increase was the growth in the overall size of the workforce. Around 60% of the increase in employees earning over $100,000 was in those who earned between $100,000 and $130,000. The number of employees in the tertiary education institutions group increased by 72 or 0.9% in the academic year to 31 December . This increase is likely to be a small underestimate, due to data collection changes resulting from the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) and the introduction of Te Pūkenga.

1 Data covers 36 Public Service departments and departmental agencies, as well as six selected Crown agencies whose chief executives are under the Remuneration Authority jurisdiction, including the Audit Office, Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Office of the Ombudsmen, Parliamentary Service, Parliamentary Counsel Office, and Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Data also covers 12 tertiary education institutions in 2020 (26 in 2019).

2 In 1998, Cabinet agreed that the disclosure of public sector remuneration would follow the Companies Act 1993 requirement, where total remuneration would be disclosed where it was above $100,000 (CAB (98) M8/3B(1)).

Personnel expenditure in Crown agencies

The Treasury publishes annual Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand each year. These statements include personnel expenditure, which covers total remuneration paid to employees. It includes payments such as salaries, employer contributions to superannuation, long service leave entitlements, performance, and severance. Personnel expenses for core government agencies increased by 10.4% to $9,358 million in the 2021 June year, while the total Crown personnel expenditure increased by 7.4% to $29,817 million as shown in the table below.

Personnel expenditure in Core Crown and Total Crown, June year 2016-2021








Core Crown* personnel expenditure ($m)







Annual change (%)







Total Crown** personnel expenditure ($m)







Annual change (%)







*Core Crown – includes ministers, government departments, departmental agencies, interdepartmental executive boards, interdepartmental ventures, the New Zealand Defence Force, the New Zealand Police, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Parliamentary Service, the NZS Fund and the Reserve Bank of NZ.

**Total Crown – includes the core Crown plus Crown entities and State-owned Enterprises.

Public Service salary cost

Expenditure on base salaries is the single largest component of personnel expenditure (others include superannuation, overtime, redundancy costs, etc.). The total salary cost shown in the first tab on the chart below is calculated by multiplying the number of FTE employees in the Public Service by the average annual FTE base salary. These are approximate annual salary costs and don’t represent total personnel expenditure. The total base salary cost in the Public Service increased by 10.8% ($525 million) to $5,366 million in 2021, up from $4,841 million in 2020 (when the annual increase was 12.9%). This was driven by a 6.9% increase in FTE staff numbers and a 3.7% increase in average salary.

Total salary cost by occupation group is the product of average base salary and the number of FTE staff in that group. The Manager group had the largest cost at $1,039.6 million in the year to 30 June 2021, as shown on the second tab in the chart above. The second largest cost was for the Social, Health and Education Workers at $859.9 million, followed by the Inspectors and Regulatory Officers group at $797.6 million and Information Professionals at $788.3 million. These four groups accounted for just under two-thirds (65%) of Public Service employee salary costs.

The largest percentage increase in salary cost by occupation group was in Other Professionals Not Elsewhere Included (up $59.4 million or 25.6%). The largest absolute increase was in Social, Health and Education Workers (up $110.7 million or 14.8%).

Performance pay: Superannuation: Redundancy

Performance pay is defined as a one-off payment to staff in recognition of outstanding , excluding one-off payments made in lieu of other remuneration adjustments. In the year to 30 June 2021, 0.2% or 142 Public Service employees received a performance pay with the average value of $2,000 (see the first tab on the chart below). This represents a large drop from previous years, where performance pay has averaged about $3,000 and was given to 2–3% of the workforce.

Five departments out of 36 gave performance pay in 2021 (down from 16 departments in 2020). Almost all (94%) of the payments were given by the Department of Corrections and the Department of Internal Affairs.

One of the Government Expectations for employment relations in the public sector is that employers work towards removing at-risk pay and performance bonuses from pay policies and employment agreements. This directive is now being shown in our reporting.

The chart on the second tab above shows recent trends of Public Service participation in superannuation schemes. As at 30 June 2021, 91.4% of Public Service employees were members of at least one employer-subsidised superannuation scheme (the same as last year). The majority of staff (81.7%) belonged to KiwiSaver, with 10.7% in the State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme (SSRSS). Membership of KiwiSaver has increased steadily as new employees join the Public Service. SSRSS and the Government Superannuation Fund (GSF) schemes were closed to new members in 2008 and 1992 respectively, and the number of employees in those schemes are decreasing gradually as members leave the Public Service.

In the year to 30 June 2021, 311 employees in the Public Service were made redundant (up from 269 in 2020). The average redundancy payment was $68,200 (down from $71,700 in 2020). This increase was mainly due to more redundancies in Inland Revenue (up 25 in 2021 to 133) as it continues its large transformation programme, and at Internal Affairs (up 57 to 77 from several change processes including changes in the Service Delivery and Operations branch which manages the processing of the life events and identity services products (e.g. passports, births, deaths, marriages).

The total cost of redundancy increased to $21.2 million (from $19.3 million in 2020). Twenty-five departments reported redundancies, with two-thirds occurring in Inland Revenue and Internal Affairs.

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