50 year Anniversary of Equal Pay marks record low pay gap

  • Hon Jan Tinetti
  • Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan
  • Record low gender pay gap of 7.7% in the public service
  • Over 55% of public sector senior leadership roles held by women
  • Māori pay gap in the public service lowest ever at 6.5%
  • Pacific Pay gap in the public service 17.7%
  • NACEW announced as national advisory group on pay transparency, expanding its remit to include ethnicity
  • Today marks 50 years since the Equal Pay Act 1972 was passed, a law instrumental in ensuring the legal right to equal pay for equal work in Aotearoa New Zealand says Minister for Women Jan Tinetti.

    The Public Service 2022 Workforce data released today indicates New Zealand continues to move in the right direction, and a unified approach across the Public Service and unions has delivered a record low gender pay gap of 7.7 percent.

    “We are committed to closing the gender and ethnic pay gap. Our progress to reduce the pay gaps in the public sector gives me confidence that the range of measures we are taking can continue to close the gap for all New Zealanders,” said Jan Tinetti.

    “Lifting the wages for all New Zealanders gives more money to families and provides greater economic security. While there is still much to do, we should all be proud of the progress New Zealanders have made.

    “To us, being paid fairly is a fundamental human right. Everyone should be paid fairly and have the same opportunities to achieve their career aspirations.

    “While the global fight for equality in the workforce is ongoing, the Equal Pay Act continues to move us towards achieving equal pay and pay equity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    “The number of women in leadership continues to trend upwards with women now holding 55.8 percent of senior leadership positions”, Tinetti said.

    In the public service the Māori pay gap has fallen to 6.5 percent from 8.3 percent and is now the lowest it has been. The Pacific pay gap has fallen from 17.9 percent to 17.7 percent. The Asian pay gap is 12.4 percent. With the gender pay gap now at a record low, the Public Service is continuing to step up efforts to close ethnic pay gaps.

    Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Priyanca Radhakrishnan along with Minister Tinetti has today announced the Government’s next steps in relation to a pay transparency system.

    “I am pleased that the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) will become our national advisory group on pay transparency in Aotearoa New Zealand”, Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

    “The Council’s role will be expanded to consider both gender and ethnicity in relation to pay transparency, and will provide advice on what a pay transparency system that is fit-for-purpose for New Zealand could look like.

    “It’s important we assess pay transparency tools that will support businesses to identify their gender and ethnic pay gaps, and what measures we can take to reduce them.

    “We know there is no silver bullet to solving pay gaps, and that a range of measures are needed. We are committed to exploring creative ways to reduce pay gaps and a pay transparency system could be an important tool,” Radhakrishnan said.

    Tinetti said: “The Government is committed to reducing the gender pay gap, and has agreed to investigate whether a pay transparency system would be beneficial for New Zealand which was one of the recommendations from the select committee which looked into pay transparency. Kia Toipoto – the Public Service Pay Gaps Action Plan 2021-24 aims to eliminate all gender and ethnic pay gaps and increase diversity in leadership. We are delighted that the Council will take up this role to improve pay transparency for Aotearoa New Zealand.

    “Pay equity settlements are a powerful vehicle for closing gender and ethnic pay gaps, particularly for vulnerable workforces.

    “There have been seven New Zealand pay equity settlements so far and I expect to see another claim conclude in the next few weeks. These settlements removed gender discrimination from pay for more than 104,000 people. The average pay correction to date has been 33%. Currently, there are 27 pay equity claims in progress covering over 200,000 New Zealanders working across the economy.

    “I want to acknowledge everyone who is working to eliminate all gender and ethnic pay gaps and achieve equal pay for equal work here in Aotearoa, New Zealand particularly in areas such as pay equity, women in leadership roles, education, career and training opportunities, and women’s safety,” Tinetti said.

    Note to editors:

    • The National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women is a Ministerial advisory body with a track record of addressing women’s employment issues. It includes two partner organisations (the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) and BusinessNZ) and links to additional partners (the National Council of Women of New Zealand, the Māori Women’s Welfare League, P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A., YWCA, Rural Women New Zealand, Global Women, Māori Women’s Development Inc., the Human Rights Commission, Iti Rearea Collective, and Shama Ethnic Women’s Trust).
    • The Council is responsible directly to the Minister for Women and Manatū Wāhine Ministry for Women provides a support (secretariat) role to the Council.
    • Today, to commemorate 50 years of the Equal Pay Act 1972, there will be a panel discussion to explore what a future may look like where all people are paid fairly for the work they do. There is a livestream available between 5.15-6.30pm, via
    • publicservice.eventsair.com/equal-pay-act-50th-anniversary-virtual/equalpay/Site/Register
    • A new e-learning module on the journey to equal pay is also being launched today. It explores the movement’s history and the reality today of the current gender and ethnic pay gaps. The module will be available on the National Library’s website shortly.

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