More on Police pay

Tracy Watkins reports:

Police pay negotiations could be the next political fight, as figures emerge showing the number of police constables who are paid over $80,000 a year.

The figures were on a National-aligned blog yesterday. Police bosses are in pay negotiations with the rank and file. …

The National-aligned Kiwiblog yesterday posted figures showing about 640 police constables earn over $80,000 a year, while about 40 per cent of sergeants are on more than $90,000 a year, along with 80 per cent of senior sergeants.

Police Association president Greg O’Connor said yesterday it preferred to conduct pay negotiations behind closed doors.

Good God, I never thought my post yesterday would be seen as anything to do with the Government and the Police pay negotiations. It is all rather innocent. I blogged a couple of weeks ago on how the Police have a binding arbitration mechanism in their salary negotiations – a panel of three choose between the Commissioner’s offer and the union’s offer, if they can’t agree by themselves. This means that any stand off can be resolved.

I got an unsolicited e-mail (as I often) do from a reader who said:

I saw your post on Kiwiblog today questioning the amount that police are paid. I got curious about this myself so I did an OIA request over it: the results of which are attached. The top police officers appear to be paid in the $110,000-$120,000 bracket.

The OIA which I published shows it was a Josh Grainger, who I think it is fair to say not aligned with the Government 🙂

Josh actually did the OIA in 2011. I just found the data interesting, as you don’t normally see such detail in media stories, so I blogged it. I actually said:

The numbers are interesting, but for one I think they are appropriate. Police officers have to put up with a lot of crap.

So no, it wasn’t a post to help the Government fight the Police pay demand. As I have tried to explain several times, there is an arbitration mechanism in place. If the Police union think the Commissioner’s offer is crap, and their offer is fair – then they can seek a binding arbitration on it.

The nice thing with the binding arbitration is that it is all or nothing. They have to go 100% with the Commissioner’s offer or the union’s request. What this tends to do is moderate both parties to be reasonable. Quite unlike most other pay disputes where massively unrealistic claims are made.

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