Monday, March 16, 2015

ON MEMBERS PAY, ALLOWANCES AND 'PERKS'

I see the Greens have been successful in having that portion of the Statutes Amendment Bill canned which would see former MPs elected prior to 1999 having their entitlement to annual subsidised overseas travel based on the equivalent of  single return business class airfare to London for self and partner to the same travelling Air New Zealand.

A Statutes Amendment Bill is the fast track legislative route.   It requires the consent of all Parties in order to proceed.   The Greens are perfectly entitled to oppose it notwithstanding that the amendment returns calculation of the 'perk' to as it was when originally approved.    I guess the reason for that was to favor Air NZL over overseas carriers.    Whether the dollar differential amounts to much measured against the ever declining cohort is a moot point.   I suspect the Greens are doing this more for publicity reasons.

But it does again remind us of what happened all those years ago when it was the function of Parliament to fix MPs entitlements.    MPs quickly realised they were on a hiding to nothing in approving increases to base salaries in line with what might or might not be happening in the private or government sectors and instead concentrated on ratcheting up their so called perks in order to to compensate for that. It is only in the last two decades years that MPs have been remunerated based on the concept of the 'total remuneration package'.

And that is how it should and must remain.    I have to confess I am not particularly enamored with the proposal by Government to legislate against the recent decision of the Remuneration Authority which awarded MPs salary increases by up to 5.4% and instead to tie salaries to movements in the State sector.    I would much prefer that the Remuneration Authority issue a determination three months prior to an election fixing entitlements for the next three years.   That would, I think, take the heat out of the issue.

And please, let no-one that MPs are well paid.   A back bench MP is paid about as much as a mid ranking Lieutenant Colonel equivalent in the military or a Deputy Principal in medium size secondary school.    Many MP's would take a salary cut on being elected.      They are not well remunerated by any stretch of the imagination and those who would argue otherwise are saying much about their own level of competence.  
    

  

12 comments:

Tinman said...

Veteran, I disagree.

MPs volunteer for the job, indeed they fight for the job and I, for one, would happily allow part of that fight to be how much they expect to be paid for the job - as in "Vote for me, I'll pay you to represent you".

In fact I believe NZ would be better served if MPs were paid only provable expenses, service to ones country being a privilege in itself.

Currently a very large number of MPs are on the best money they will ever earn, simply because they are incapable of earning more in the private sector.

In my opinion, for these reasons, I believe most current MPs are remunerated very well indeed, far above the amount they earn.

The Veteran said...

Tinman ... I would take issue with your ascertain that "a very large number of MPs are on the best money they will ever earn".

Most of the MPs I know (from the 'right' side of the House) took a pay cut when they were elected. You may be right for the other mob(s).

Part of the rationale for paying the judiciary what they get is to minimize the chance of corruption ... seems that the same logic doesn't apply when setting MPs remuneration.

It is an interesting debate.

Noel said...

It's the perks for spouses and children that are out of kilter. I've yet to find a nurse, policemen or fire fighter whose children get 20 taxpayer funded flights a year.

Tinman said...

Veteran, I do of course refer mainly to "the other mob(s)".

Notably you can vote out bad pollies (in most systems), you can't vote out our judiciary so I suggest the comparison is not a fair one.

I believe we should pay MPs nothing at all except of course, provable expenses.

The argument against this is usually that then you only get the wealthy.

I posit that that is what we want. Most of the wealthy with the social conscience necessary to become an MP will be successful people who have earned that wealth - exactly the people we need to have at the helm.

Politics is the only industry that allows complete incompetents and life's failures (note Winnies lot, the Reds, most of Labour etc) to run the outfit.

Removal of the money incentive will remove most of these, particularly the ones that are currently simply pollutants.

Tinman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Veteran said...

Noel ... suggest you check your research.

Backbench MP spouses/partners are entitled to 20 one-way trips (i.e. 10 return) while for children aged between 8 and 17 the limit is 8 one-way trips.

The trips can only be used to join the MP while he/she is on Parliamentary business.

They cannot be used for business or personal travel.

Sometimes during a Parliamentary session an MP may not get home for weeks on end.

This creates a huge strain on family relationships. The concession goes some way to address that issue.

It is stating the obvious that Wellington region MPs enjoy a considerable advantage compared with those from far flung rural electorates.

Don't know of many nurses, policemen or firefighters whose place of work is up to 1,000k from their home residence.

Noel said...


"Sometimes during a Parliamentary session an MP may not get home for weeks on end."

Gee maybe my example should have been service personnel.

Tinman said...

Veteran, if the job of an MP is so onerous why do so many fight so hard to continue to hold the position?

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Yes Noel

Maybe you should find out what the total remuneration of a Lieutenant Colonel serving overseas on a six month stretch might be.

The Veteran said...

Tinman .... about the only time I agreed with Muldoon was when he said that if an MP went into Parliament with a shaky marriage they would leave Parliament without one and, if he/she went into Parliament with a fondness for drink, then they would leave an alcoholic.

It is a fishbowl existence and, while some revel in it, many others fall by the wayside.

Most MPs go into Parliament expecting to achieve great things. They hang in there hoping they will make it into Cabinet. Some do, many don't. But unless you make it into Cabinet you are either cannon fodder or cannon fodder in waiting.

Shit of a life and not too well paid either.

PM of NZ said...

Unlike MPs, at least the comparable LtCol supposedly earns his keep actually being cannon fodder.

Tinman said...

Veteran, I agreed with Muldoon often (until the last three years when he went mad). Not all the time of course but often.

I don't doubt that some MPs, particularly ministers, work very hard.

The life of an MP is not for everyone, not for me in fact, but so many want it and so many, having lived it want to continue it that remuneration should not be a consideration.

I am quite serious, MPs should work for nothing except costs.

If they can't afford that commitment they are not the people who should be running the country.