Tonight Newshub had an item announcing that 63 people had won over a million dollars in Lotto this year, the most ever. (We can’t stand watching Newshub’s news broadcasts, but go to their homepage and see what stories look interesting.)

What Newshub didn’t and probably wont mention is that according to the NZ Lotteries Commission annual report, the Chief Executive’s pay moved from a $430-440K band in the year to 30 June 2019 to a $510-520K band in the year to 30 June 2020.

There is an explanation given: “The Chief Executive’s remuneration shows a high movement in pay brackets due to the adoption of State Services Commission guidance on Chief Executive pay to encourage Public Sector agencies’ Chief Executives to remove their annual incentive payment from their employment contract.”

Now, what exactly does this person do to justify getting that kind of pay, over 8 times the average NZ salary? In fact, according to the table on page 31, there were 72 people getting over $100,000 including Mr Chris Lyman, which as almost as many as in the management-bloated KCDC.

The whole objective of Lotto is to encourage people to go out and gamble by offering big prizes — how hard is that to do? Arranging for an advertising agency to produce slick commercials, managing a few administrative staff. Does that require studying a professional course for years at university like a lawyer or doctor?

One mitigating factor is the people who pay Mr Lyman’s huge salary — and those of his 71 fellow executives — aren’t taxpayers, they are the people who buy their tickets every week. And you can choose not to do that, like Geoffrey and Eva; it’s much better to base life choices, including economic ones, on reasonable probabilities than on infinitesimally small possibilities. We ‘wager’ that very few private sector higher-level earners buy Lotto tickets, they have no reason to; unfortunately, the fact is that Lotto sales are highest in the poorest areas: those people who think they can solve their financial problems by spending $10–$20 a week at the Lotto desk. This is irresponsible and of questionable morality.