The Judicial Superannuation Determination 2019, which is deemed to have come into effect on 1 January 2019, has removed the distinction between judicial officers for the maximum subsidy on contributions paid to a retirement scheme.
The new determination, notified in the NZ Gazette on 24 January 2019, revokes the Judicial Superannuation Determination 2006.
The 2006 determination provided that the maximum subsidy on contributions for Judges and Associate Judges of the High Court was 37.5% of salary, with the maximum subsidy for other applicable judicial officers at 33.7% of salary.
The new determination sets the maximum subsidy for all applicable judicial officers at 37.5% of salary.
The 2019 determination defines the applicable judicial officers as those specified in section 12B(1) of the Remuneration Authority Act 1977. This effectively covers all Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, District Court, Employment Court, Māori Land Court, Court Martial, and coroners who also hold office as a District Court Judge.
An extensive explanatory memorandum to the 2019 determination notes that the approach to providing retirement income was introduced in 1992. In 2006 it was decided to give Judges of the senior courts a larger increase than those of other courts.
"The Authority notes that the length of service as a member of the judiciary is not significantly different for any of the courts. The Authority has therefore determined that the maximum subsidy rate payable for superannuation will be set at the same rate for all judicial officers," it says.
"Remunerating the judiciary extends into retirement. Once appointed, judicial officers no longer have all of the same options that may be available to other callings. Providing an appropriate level of income into retirement for judicial officers is an important way in which the Authority supports the State to ensure the independence of the judiciary."