This explanatory memorandum is not part of the determination, but is intended to indicate its general effect.
The Remuneration Authority issued a determination, effective from 1 January 2008, which set remuneration levels for coroners. That determination had an expiry date of 31 December 2008. The Authority received and considered submissions from coroners during January and February 2009.
The criteria to which the Authority is required to have regard when determining remuneration are—
The Authority is also required to take into account the requirements of the position concerned and the conditions of service enjoyed by the persons whose remuneration is being determined and those of the holders of any comparable positions.
In effect, the Authority replaces conventional market mechanisms for salary setting for specified groups and individuals whose need for independence, and to be seen to be independent, makes distance from political, public, and institutional pressure paramount.
Accordingly the Authority has, in exercising its judgement in terms of the criteria above, taken into consideration the current remuneration setting environment in both the public and private sectors.
The international and domestic economic outlook worsened rapidly during the latter part of 2008 and the early part of 2009. In New Zealand, both public and private sector organisations have been compelled to review activities, budgets, and remuneration.
At both executive and general workforce levels, organisations are taking action both to limit costs and to improve productivity to maintain profitability. In the public sector, the response is taking the form of capped (or reduced) budgets and ministerial expectations of improved productivity to maintain or improve services. Improved productivity is also expected to meet the cost of any pay movement in the foreseeable future. Some organisations have already announced there will be no remuneration adjustments in 2009, particularly for those in senior positions.
The groups or individuals whose remuneration is set by the Authority cannot stand outside this reality.
There may, however, be groups or individuals within the private and public sectors whose special circumstances may warrant an adjustment during 2009.
It is the view of the Authority that there are no special circumstances in the case of the coroners that would warrant a remuneration adjustment this year.
The Authority reviewed the relationship between coroners and other branches of the judiciary that existed during 2008. The Authority was of the view that this was neither so well established nor yet broadly accepted as to require a movement in remuneration in the current circumstances.
This determination therefore maintains the current remuneration of coroners until 31 December 2009.