Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:
MPs across the political spectrum are calling for their private travel perks to be scrapped after the resignation of Cabinet minister Pansy Wong.
Prime Minister John Key said yesterday there was “a time and a place” for looking at the travel perks.
Speaking from Japan, where he was attending the Apec summit, he said: “It’s possible there may need to be some change but today’s not the day to make those comments.
“It’s tripped up a number of MPs and that’s very unfortunate. It looks somewhat like a relic of the past but in the end that’s not solely my decision. That’s something we need to discuss [and] in due course we will.”
Raising MPs’ salary in place of the perks was contentious.
“It’s not so much getting rid of it, the question is would there be any salary adjustment.”
That sounds like a move towards scrapping it.
The issue though, is that it will mean an increase in the salaries for MPs, as the Remuneration Authority currently deducts it from the level at which it judges their remuneration should be, to set base salary.
This increase would basically be automatic – it would not be requested by MPs. You would probably have to change the law, to stop there being an increase if the travel perk is removed.
But that is what should happen. The international travel perk should go, as I have blogged previously. And MPs should get paid what the RA determines is appropriate.