Revealed: NZ’s highest-paid public servant

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The average public servant earns around $60,000 – the figure is higher for men, but lower for women – but one government employee banks a salary more than 10 times this amount.
 
An employee of Accident Compensation Corp (ACC), the state-owned accident insurer, received more than $800,000 in pay last year, making them the country’s highest paid public servant. Their base salary before incentives, bonuses and entitlements was roughly a third of this figure.
 
This salary eclipses the annual earnings of chief executives across the public sector, including NZ Super Fund boss Adrian Orr, who earns $791,000.
 
The only exception is the partially state-owned energy firms, many of whose senior executives earn over $1 million annually.
 
The notable salary of the unnamed employee ­– thought to be investment manager Nicholas Bagnall, who oversees almost $27 billion in taxpayer funds ­– was revealed in the ACC’s annual report, released this week.
 
According to a new report by Victoria University’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work, the average pay band for public servants was recorded as $60,000 to $70,000 for men, and $50,000 to $60,000 for women.
 
Bagnall, who has led ACC's investment team for 15 years, would not confirm he was the employee referred to in ACC's report, but told the NZ Herald that he was “very well paid”.
 
He added that although he might make more money in the private sector, money was “not actually a big motivator”.
 
“I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I'm working for New Zealand generally and that my efforts benefit the New Zealand public,” he said.
 
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