Dated at Wellington this 3rd day of May 2010.
This memorandum is not part of the determination, but is intended to indicate its general effect.
The Remuneration Authority’s first remuneration determination for coroners came into force on 1 July 2007. On that date, the sections of the Coroners Act 2006 giving the Remuneration Authority responsibility for setting remuneration for coroners came into force. That determination set an initial salary rate of $200,000 for coroners.
Since 1 July 2007, the Authority has twice considered coroners’ remuneration. The salary of coroners was increased to $208,000 with effect from 1 January 2008. The Authority held coroners’ remuneration at the same level from 1 January 2009.
There were 2 main reasons for the nil adjustment in January 2009. First, at that time and in response to a worsening economic and fiscal outlook, many state sector organisations were announcing that there would be no remuneration adjustments for the following year. The Authority took the view that those individuals or groups for whom it set remuneration could not stand outside that reality.
Second, the Authority was not then in a position to make a judgement about the remuneration relationship between coroners and other branches of the judiciary.
With the passage of a further year the Authority is now better placed to make a judgement about fair relativity between the remuneration of coroners and other positions within the judiciary. The Authority is required by its Act to be fair to those whose remuneration is being determined, and to achieve fair relativity with remuneration being achieved elsewhere.
However, the Authority is also constrained by the reality of the economic and fiscal climate, and the requirement of the new section 18A of the Remuneration Authority Act 1977. That section requires the Authority to take into account prevailing adverse economic conditions when making a remuneration determination, and permits the Authority to determine remuneration at a rate lower than it would otherwise have determined.
This determination attempts to strike a balance between these statutory requirements. It should be regarded as a first step toward establishing a more stable remuneration relativity between coroners and other branches of the judiciary.