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The Pacific pay gap has been on a steady decline from 29.9 per cent to 16.6 per cent in the last five years.

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Fixing the Pacific Pay Gap could be at threat by incoming government

The Assistant National Secretary for the Public Service Association says they are keeping a close eye on the new government.

Vaimaila Leatinu'u
Aui'a Vaimaila Leatinu'u
07 November 2023, 7:00am
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The Pacific pay gap has dropped by more than half since 2018, but with a new government on the horizon this could come undone.

The 2023 Public Workforce data by Te Kawa Mataaho - the Public Service Commission - showed the Pacific pay gap has been on a steady decline from 29.9 per cent to 16.6 per cent in the last five years.

However, Public Service Association Assistant National Secretary Alex Davies says "deep and brutal" cuts to certain areas by the incoming National government could reverse the work.

"It's something we're keeping a very close eye on because we can't be going backwards now." Davies says.

She says they are concerned about the scale of cuts that has been discussed which would severely impact the Public Service's ability to provide.

"I think it's very important to us that we work to protect the progress that's been made and we welcome that conversation with the incoming government."


As for the 16.6 per cent milestone, Davies says that things are heading in the right direction but the job's not finished.

"We want that as a zero per cent differential, we don't want any gap," Davies says.

"But it is moving the right way and that's probably due to a couple of big pieces of work that Unions Members and the government of the time put a lot of effort into," she says.

The Māori pay gap has gone from 11.2 per cent in 2018, to 6.5 per cent in 2022 to now 5.4 per cent, dropping just under half in the last five years.

Additionally, women in senior management roles has gone upward from 39.8 per cent in 2010 to 55.9 per cent today.

Davies says their action plans between government employments and Unions contributed, which aims to shift work culture.

"How you hire people, how you promote people. The kind of policies you use. Those have all gone a long way to lowering that gap."

National Secretary for the PSA, Duane Leo seconded that today's gap reduction stems from "practical action plans."

"[It] shows how the public service can lead by example in closing pay gaps and promoting diversity," Leo says.

"We urge the private sector take note and redouble it's own efforts to create pay transparency and do what's needed to get rid of unjustifiable pay differences by gender and ethnicity."

Davies says the private sector could learn a lot from measuring, tracking and decreasing pay gaps.

"It makes organisations better. It makes workers more engaged because they're in a workplace that respects and values them," Davies says.

"It's a good thing in and of itself but it also produces good things."

Watch the full interview below:

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