Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalPublic Sector Pay Restraint A ‘kick In The Teeth’

Public Sector Pay Restraint A ‘kick In The Teeth’


The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists Toi Mata
Hauora says the Government’s ongoing public sector pay
restraint is a kick in the teeth to senior doctors and
dentists who keep core health services going and have kept
New Zealanders safe and cared for during the Covid-19
pandemic.

In a press release on the Government’s
Workforce Policy Statement, Public Service Minister Chris
Hipkins has ruled out pay increases for those earning over
$100,000 for the next three years.

ASMS Executive
Director Sarah Dalton says senior doctors and dentists will
find it galling as it sends a harsh message to health
professionals that they are not valued.

“On one hand
the Government has been showering doctors and medical
professional with bouquets for their response to Covid, and
on the other it turns around and swings a very heavy
brickbat. It doesn’t make sense”.

In real terms
pay restraint will send salaries backwards by about two
percent a year.

“No matter what you earn, not being
able to keep up with inflation is unacceptable. Falling
behind is not a fair expectation,” Sarah Dalton
says.

The pay restraint announcement comes at a time
when senior doctors and dentists are battling serious
staffing shortages, cramped and outdated facilities, and
steady increases in acute patient demand – all of which
have been acknowledged by the Health Minister Andrew
Little.

Sarah Dalton says with an estimated 60% pay
gap with Australia and the trans-Tasman bubble now open, the
Government is pushing up the risk of losing more of our
highly trained and skilled specialists.

“I think we
all know that as a country we can’t afford for that to
happen. We need our doctors to stay in New Zealand as part
of a skilled workforce which is essential to economic
growth, productivity and our post-Covid
recovery”.

The Government has also asked for
clinical leadership and support in the implementation of its
health reforms.

“That support is now likely to be
compromised,” Sarah Dalton says.

ASMS is
disappointed to see the Finance Minister abandoning the
government’s wellbeing agenda in favour of an austerity
programme.

“We know that most of our health
investment is tied up in people – as it should be. Now is
not the time to apply downward pressure on our health
system’s most valuable health resource – its
workforce”.

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