MPs pay freeze

February 10th, 2009 at 6:14 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The National Party isn’t going to support a Green Party proposal to freeze MPs’ pay for three years, as it doesn’t believe the recession will last that long.

The Greens plan to put their proposal to Parliament, possibly tomorrow, and they hope MPs will vote on it.

Prime Minister said today if it was re-drafted for a one-year freeze, National would support it.

“The Green’s proposal presupposes there will be a recession for three years,” Mr Key said. …

“I don’t accept that proposition. If the Greens want to alter it to one year then National will vote for it, and we might vote for it in the second and third years.” …

Green Party MP said he was pleased Mr Key had responded to the proposal in a positive way and the Greens would want to get it through Parliament on a cross-party basis.

I have long advocated that MPs should get pay rises only once every three years, rather than annually. Not because of the recession, but to get rid of the (inaccurate) perception of MPs giving themselves pay rises.

I would change the law so that the Remuneration Commission sets 90 days before a scheduled election, with the new rates to apply for the next term of Parliament.

This isn’t to lower MPs wages compared to other jobs – just to change the timing. So (for example) instead of annual increases of say 3%, there might be a 10% increase for the next term of Parliament.

This is a slightly different issue to “self sacrifice” of increases during the recession. That comes down to showing “moral leadership” and is a sensible action, as there will be less resistance of making savings elsewhere if they are also occuring at the top.

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23 Responses to “MPs pay freeze”

  1. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    What good sense from the Greens. Their weeks in the cold wilderness of Opposition must have tempered their usual unhinged madness :-)

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  2. berend (1,715 comments) says:

    I would advocate a bonus regime as well: if the productivity of the country improves, or rankings for health, business, etc. MPs get a nice huge bonus.

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  3. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    If National refuse to support the wage freeze, could we freeze a couple of their MPs instead? Peter Dunne already is a snow freeze so we’ll not count him, but Tolley could do with 3 years in the freezer – she’ll achieve more good in there than she would in the warmer real world ($3000 truant fines and fat’n’sugar for all school children – what a prat!). I’d like to see Brownlee, Minister of ENERGY ??? inside a freezer too, but would even a walk-in contain his majesty?

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  4. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “could we freeze a couple of their MPs instead”
    Problem is that would qualify them to join the ice queens and other cold souls of the labour/green left.
    You’d be forgiven for thinking some MP’s of the last regime were frozen stiff with inaction

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  5. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,753 comments) says:

    Look at that, the Greens think they still have some influence on government.

    Guess they haven’t woken up to the new reality of 8 November 2008.

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  6. GJ (329 comments) says:

    Time to wake up! If you pay peanuts you will get monkeys. Compared to what you can earn outside of Parliament, who would want to go there? Continuing to underpay will not attract quality candidates at election time. Give them a bonus for genuine dollars that they can save the taxpayer and we might start getting real results. Performance based packages work best over a wide range of industries as only those that can and do perform last the distance! (Just look at Real Estate)

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  7. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Mp’s pay should be linked to the Minimum Wage.

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  8. Inventory2 (10,409 comments) says:

    greenfly – FYI:

    National = party of government/influence
    Greens = minor opposition oarty/minimal influence

    Get used to it :-)

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  9. Helensphotogenicimposter (244 comments) says:

    Pay rises should be retrospective. It should be calculated according to a number of objectives that need to be met, such as productivity, crimerates, educational standards etc. This way parliamentary time would be dedicated to the real issues, rather than wasting time on pointless bills such as the EFA and legislation about whether or not a light smack should be a criminal act.

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  10. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Why don’t we get some clever economist to come up with a formula for MPs wages that takes into account key indicators such as inflation, GDP, the average wage, the balance of trade, unemployment levels, hospital waiting list lengths, tax rates, etc.

    In effect, I think it’s time that MPs were paid on a *performance-related* basis — as they have long been suggesting that the rest of us are.

    If they up their productivity and get the country moving with good economic and social outcomes then I’m all for paying them a king’s ransom.

    However, if they just sit back (like some do) and play with their baubles, act like ill-behaved children in the debating chamber and generally twiddle their thumbs then they themselves ought to be on no more than the minimum wage.

    Come on — if it’s good enough for the rest of us then performance-related income has to be good enough for our MPs.

    Yes/no?

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  11. MT_Tinman (3,255 comments) says:

    # Glutaemus Maximus Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Mp’s pay should be linked to the Minimum Wage.

    I tend to think MPs should be paid the minimum wage (plus relevant expenses) which would quickly weed out the time servers and no-hopers not industrious enough to earn a living in private life.

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  12. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    Give them an extra 50c per hour, and they should be grateful for that.

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  13. Greg BB (32 comments) says:

    MPs salaries should never be politicised. DPF your onto it, JK and the Greens aren’t.

    Heres the problem:

    The higher you pay MPs, the better MPs you get. If you set up a situation where MPs are effectively forced to not except pay rises, or give a portion of their income to charity for fear of political fallout – they effectively have a lower wage. This decreases the calibre of people you get applying for the job. We want MPs to be our best and brightest availlable, if your the best and brightest you want to be paid at least a half decent wage.

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  14. Greg BB (32 comments) says:

    aarvark

    Yeah, good concept. But it shouldn’t be related to the current economic performance of the government. Would you want the last labour government bearing the fruits of the Douglas’s and Richardson’s actions? Good governance doesn’t always have immeadiate results.

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  15. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Greg, the old adage that “you pay peanuts you get monkeys” has been proven wrong so many times.

    Tell me, how much did those high-flying finance company directors get — before their bad management skills sunk companies like Bridgecorp, BlueChip, etc?

    Tell me, how much did the managers of all those hi-flying US companies that now need bail-outs get paid?

    Anyone who goes into politics because they’re looking for a hi-paying job is *not* the right person for that job.

    Politics requires an empathy with the people and a willingness to judge your own performance, not by your earnings but by your achievements.

    For that reason, paying politicians more is most unlikely to produce better outcomes.

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  16. Greg BB (32 comments) says:

    aardvark.

    No doubt the wage is not the whole picture. Lets not forget that many MPs have taken a pay cut to accept the job. But its all about opportunity cost. If you pay MPs less the opportunity cost of taking the job increases, therefore there will be less who are willing to do it. Pay is by no means the be all and end all of the decision to become an MP, however it would be naive to believe it did not play a part.

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  17. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    greenfly said: If National refuse to support the wage freeze, could we freeze a couple of their MPs instead?

    I think they already have frozen Murray McCully. We certainly haven’t seem much decisive activity from him as Foreign Minister.

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  18. dime (10,098 comments) says:

    heh a green supporter bagging a national mp cracks me up. toad, may i suggest you read the bio’s of your lot? now thats funny!

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  19. big bruv (14,136 comments) says:

    Toad

    Let’s do a deal then, you can have McCully frozen if we can have Delahunty.

    Deal?

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  20. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    big bruv – you regard Delahunty very highly! She’s only been in the house a short time, yet you’d trade her for an old hand like McCully. Whoa! Do you fear her power!

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  21. big bruv (14,136 comments) says:

    Greenfly

    You should be agreeing with me mate, she is going to be bloody embarrassing for you guys over the next three years.

    Mind you, the rest of us are going to have a lot of fun pointing and laughing.

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  22. dime (10,098 comments) says:

    “Whoa! Do you fear her power!”

    what is she? a sith lord?

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  23. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    Increase their income by 50%
    Cut their numbers by 50%

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