Should CEOs be paid more than John Key?

"Is it really necessary to pay CEOs many times more than John Key is paid? I find that hard to justify and I believe most New Zealanders do too.”

Labour’s acting leader David Parker has slammed recent reports which show New Zealand CEOs earning as much as $4.1m per year, questioning whether their wages should be distributed more fairly across companies.

ANZ New Zealand CEO David Hisco tops the list with a $4.1m pay packet per year, while in the technology space Spark CEO Simon Moutter leads the way with a $1.9m salary.

Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe is close behind on $1.8m, while other notable figures include NZX CEO Tim Bennett and Trade Me Group CEO Jon Macdonald who command around $1m and $550,000 respectively.

Further done the list is Xero CEO Rod Drury, who rakes in $355,000 per year.

In total, the New Zealand Herald commissioned survey shows New Zealand’s top executives now earn an average of $1.4 million a year or 25 times more than the $55,000 the average Kiwi earns.

"No one denies chief executives should be well paid for their skills and experience,” Parker says. “But it is the efforts of all employees which contribute to company profits.

“Salaries paid to chief executives come at the expense of other working Kiwis and consumers.

“It comes at a time when 43 per cent of all Kiwis did not get a rise in their pay rate in the prior year.”

According to the Business Herald’s executive pay survey, CEO’s average salary rose during 2013, a 4% increase on 2012.

“The Prime Minister of New Zealand is well paid and rightly so,” Parker adds. “He earns around half a million dollars a year.

"Is it really necessary to pay CEOs many times more than John Key is paid? I find that hard to justify and I believe most New Zealanders do too.”

Echoing comments from Warehouse CEO Mark Powell earlier this year, who revealed that his $1.7 million salary troubled him when his frontline staff deserved better pay, Parker says unfortunately, “something is out of kilter.”

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