Ethnic (pay) disparities in public sector leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Heather Came, Dr
    Auckland University of Technology
  • Emmanuel Badu, Dr
  • Julia Ioane, Dr
    Auckland University of Technology
  • Leanne Manson
    Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa - New Zealand Nurses Union
  • Tim McCreanor, Prof.
    Massey University


New Zealand Governments have longstanding policy commitments to equal employment practices. Little attention has been paid to ethnic pay disparities in recent years. Informed by a series of official information act requests, we were interested to find out what extent, ethnic pay disparities existed within the core public sector and district health boards (DHBs).  We examined the population proportions of Māori, Pasifika and Other ethnicities earning over $NZ100,000 over five year intervals between 2001 to 2016, using linear regression analysis.   The analyses showed a statistically significant pattern of ethnic pay disparities across the public sector. There were fewer Māori and Pasifika staff employed in DHBs than their population proportion. The failure to promote Māori and Pasifika to the upper tiers of public sector is consistent with definitions of institutional racism. The authors call for more research to understand the dynamics of ethnic pay disparity and the drivers of this disparity.

Published: 2020-08-21
Pages:70 to 85
Section: Articles
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How to Cite
Came, H., Badu, E., Ioane, J., Manson, L., & McCreanor, T. (2020). Ethnic (pay) disparities in public sector leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 13(1), 70-85.