MPs salaries

December 2nd, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Derek Cheng at NZ Herald reports:

Twenty-five new members of Parliament will pick up a pay packet of at least $141,800 – a huge pay rise for some of the newcomers.

It is not a universal rule, but for those from the centre-left an MPs pay packet is the highest salary they have ever had in their lives. While for many from the centre-right, it is a considerable drop in income.

Here’s what the salaries will be for the various MPs.

  • PM – $411,500
  • Deputy PM – $291,800
  • Cabinet Ministers – $257,800
  • Speaker – $257,800
  • Leader of the Opposition – $257,800
  • Ministers outside Cabinet – $217,200
  • Government Chief Whip – $192,370
  • Members of Executive Council not a full Minister – $189,000
  • Labour Deputy Leader – $184,790
  • Labour Senior Whip – $183,940
  • Deputy Speaker – $181,200
  • Green Party Leader – $174,790
  • NZ First Party Leader – $168,640
  • Under-Secretaries $168,600
  • Green Whip – $164,310
  • Maori Party Leader – $161,250
  • NZ First Whip – $158,160
  • Mana Party Leader – $157,550
  • Assistant Speakers – $155,700
  • National and Labour Junior Whips – $155,700
  • Select Committee Chairs – $155,700
  • Select Committee Deputy Chairs – $146,200
  • Member of Parliament – $141,800

If a leadership position is shared, my understanding is that the difference between the Leader’s salary and a normal MPs salary is shared between them – they don’t both get the full leader salary.

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54 Responses to “MPs salaries”

  1. EverlastingFire (286 comments) says:

    Those salaries seem way too high for a struggling little country like NZ. I’d like to see a 50k cut across the board or a big reduction in MPs in parliament. Preferably both.

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  2. flipper (4,328 comments) says:

    Given their security of employment, apart from professional time servers, (mostly Labour) I have no problem. Worthy of note, hower: GillArd just got an increase of $90,000 pa.

    What I object to are the realkly fat cat salaries paid to government employees. None have to earn a dollar to justify their stipends so please do not tell me that they could get a COMPARABLE salary in the private sector. Take Social Welfare…Hughes was getting some $600,000 pa and all he did was oversee the distribution of monies.
    Then there was Treasury’s Whitehead….and so on.
    Not one produces any revenue by his/her efforts. They take it by law and spend it.

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  3. insider (845 comments) says:

    With the number of whips, chairs and assistants and deputies, it looks like only about 15 MPs get the basic pay.

    @ Flipper

    To be a top mandarin and survive you really have to be very good at the politics. They are IMO unelected cabinet ministers. And the big ministries have just as many employees and big budgets as some of the leading corporates.

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  4. Falafulu Fisi (2,141 comments) says:

    Flipper said…

    Not one produces any revenue by his/her efforts.

    Very good point. The Libz says:

    Political Parties Should Fund Their Own MPs

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  5. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    This is where I feel a bit sorry for the Labour people.

    These salaries mean that National MPs have to take a massive pay cut to become Members of Parliament and therefore National people have the best interests of NZ at heart because they are simply doing a public service by becoming politicians.

    Labour, Green and NZ First people, by contrast, usually have politics as their entire life – due to the absence of anything else meaningful in their lives – and find their incomes quintiple when they become MPs (as failed school teachers, trade unionists, insurance salesmen and real estate agents get paid very little).

    When National people retire or lose their seats it does not matter too much financially but the Labour/Green/NZ First people have to sign on for the dole as they are understandably unemployable.

    In short – National MPs, because politics was an adjunt to an already very successful life (“born to rule” and all that), have something to go back to.

    How demeaning for Nash, Chadwick, Sepolini, Davis, Burns, Barker etc to line up last Monday with all their no hoper, born loser constituents at the local WINZ office.

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  6. BeaB (2,164 comments) says:

    The further you go down the list, the fewer actually earning their keep.
    They certainly know how to pad the basic salary with a lot of meaningless titles.
    But what a paltry salary for our PM! Or is the country easier to run than a bank or Telecom?

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  7. virtualmark (1,306 comments) says:

    I have no problem with our politicians getting well remunerated. But I do object to the way they are remunerated.

    The Remuneration Authority sets MPs salaries by benchmarking against a set of “comparable” professional occupations. Sounds well and good. The difficulty is … a large part of most professional’s remuneration swings on how good a job they do. In salaried positions there’s bonuses. In self-employed positions there’s a much more direct connection between the results you deliver and the income you receive.

    But MPs get the same salary no matter how well – or poorly – they do by us.

    I’d much rather have a setup where MPs get a base salary (perhaps linked to the average wage), and then stand to receive a big – even very big – bonus based on a basket of measurable outcomes. Things like GDP per capita, inflation, levels of public debt, unemployment rates, education outcomes, health waiting lists.

    If they make poor decisions which deliver bad outcomes for us then they feel it in their pocket. If they turn New Zealand into the Switzerland of the South Pacific then they live like kings.

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  8. swan (665 comments) says:

    Is there a vote on who the leader of the opposition will be?

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  9. alwyn (439 comments) says:

    All the MPs have had an increase in pay of $5,000 or $7,000 or so to make up for the loss of their subsidised travel.
    Does anyone know whether the pensions of retired MPs are set in relation to the salary of a current MP?
    If they are I presume that all the retired MPs will now get an increase in their super. Does that mean that they will lose the subsidised travel perk? Frankly I am sick of paying for people to have taxpayer funded travel and to regard it as their right to take it in perpetuity.
    If they are not going to give up their subsidised travel will they forfeit any increase in the super to maintain “relativity” with the current payscales?

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  10. MT_Tinman (3,315 comments) says:

    There needs to be one more line on the list.

    It should read; List MPs – they pay us.

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  11. Grendel (1,013 comments) says:

    i thought electorate MPs got more money than list MPs?

    MPs used to earn what a top step teacher earns (which makes a mockery of mallards theory that he is losing money being in parliament). i see no reason MPs should not be dropped back to 70K salary. any that bitch that its not enough are clearly not there for the right reasons.

    but overall, what a waste of money on a good 75% of the people in parliament. the greens and labour crowd must not beleive their luck at their new payrates. other than backhander govt jobs from their mates in the past none of them would ever earn this much in their lives and certainly not in the private sector.

    i mean tell me what experience and value Gareth Hughes has to offer any organisation that he could walk into a job and be earning 140K a year at 23? most private sector employees dont see being arrested as ronald mcdonald as a career plus.

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  12. Viking2 (11,672 comments) says:

    Most would not earn this amount in their real life. No wonder they go there.

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  13. Nigel (493 comments) says:

    Compare that with Singapore

    Prime Minister 3 million PA
    Entry level minister 2 million PA
    MP’s are 240k or so

    Huge number of other differences for sure, not the least of which is guaranteed results of elections( and by extension employment ), but there is no argument that Singapore has outgrown NZ.

    The concept that we either pay our Politicians a pittance of what they are capable of or way more than they could hope to alternatively earn is to my mind crazy, the incomes should reflect the responsibility the roles carry.

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  14. Grendel (1,013 comments) says:

    lots of roles are not paid on their responsibility, teachers, care workers etc.

    salaries should be paid based on demand. the fact that lots of people want to be MPs says that there is more demand than there is supply so we can drop the payrates.

    the salaries each term should be reflected on the basis of how many people try out for parliament. the more who run, the less the pay.

    if they are not there for the money it won’t matter. and i dare any of the champions of the ‘poor’ to say they could not survive on 70K pa, when their constituents are supposedly very very poor.

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  15. dime (10,212 comments) says:

    “How demeaning for Nash, Chadwick, Sepolini, Davis, Burns, Barker etc to line up last Monday with all their no hoper, born loser constituents at the local WINZ office.”

    A beautiful thought :) Although im sure my favourite MP Sepolini was snapped up by the private sector.. cant wait to see where she pops up

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  16. swan (665 comments) says:

    I dont see how it is justifiable to have internal political party positions being paid differently to other MP’s. Government Ministers should get paid more obviously, as that is a completely separate role. I would also think it justifiable that electorate MP’s get paid more. But why should a whip or party leader get paid more? Thats simply to do with the self-organisation of a political party.

    Let me put it this way: Imagine there was a political party that operated on the basis of ritualistic meetings every morning, where candles were lit, peace pipes were smoked etc. Would the “Wise guardian of the peace pipe” get paid more than other MP’s? What have their rituals intrinsically got to do with parliament?

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  17. anonymouse (705 comments) says:

    How demeaning for Nash, Chadwick, Sepolini, Davis, Burns, Barker etc to line up last Monday with all their no hoper, born loser constituents at the local WINZ office.

    Although S. 18 (3) (b) of the Civil List Act, gives all of them 3 months grace before the gravy runs out…

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  18. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Leader of the Opposition – $257,800
    Green Party Leader – $174,790

    That’s not very fair. Why are Labour the Opposition and not the Greens?

    Also, do both Green co-leaders get $174,000? Because they shouldn’t.

    Actually, I’m not sure why a party leader should get any extra at all. It’s not like they have much more of a role in government than any other member of a minor party.

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  19. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    Surely its not a question of whether the salaries are set too high but rather a question of are we getting value for money.

    If this was a ‘private sector interview’, we would be asking about the attributes the individuals would bring to the role and make a decision accordingly. But in the case of List MP’s, we don’t actually decide whether candidate ‘A’ or candidate ‘B’ is preferred because the ranking of List MPs is done by Party flunkies. And a small group of committee members in (say) Te Atatu, decides who will the the next electorate MP because its a tribal seat. And if they picked a moron or an outstanding candidate, the result would be the same.

    Besides, in my experience, complaints about the levels of remuneration (in any role) are largely driven by tall poppy envy rather than an evaluation of talent / attributes that a person can bring to the role and the value they add to the operation.

    We actually need fewer MPs of a higher calibre, rather than some of the morons who have just descended on Wellington thrilled that they will be remunerated at $140k p.a.

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  20. alwyn (439 comments) says:

    Tristanb at 10.15am.
    The position of Leader of the Opposition is laid down in legislation in, I think, the Electoral Act.
    It is the leader of the party, not in government, that gets the largest party vote. The Labour party, even though it did very badly, got about 27% of the vote. The Green party, even thogh it did very well, got less than 11% of the vote.
    The various salaries for party leaders are not defined for the particular party. They are laid down for parties with a particular number of MPs. Thus the Green party, this time around, pays better than last term.

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  21. swan (665 comments) says:

    alwyn – According to wikipedia the Leader of the Opposition gets security briefings, and that is about it with regard to actual responsibilities. Seems out of line to be paid the same as a cabinet minister.

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  22. mickrodge (27 comments) says:

    IMO scum list MP’s should be on half the salary of an elected representative. It’s state funded nepotism really.

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  23. Manolo (14,166 comments) says:

    Where else Parakura Hormia is going to earn that much money?

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  24. david (2,194 comments) says:

    What about the UF Party Leader, ACT Part Leader, and Te Mana Party Leader? Or are their benefits related to additional research facilities and staff and extra electorate allownces etc?

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  25. david (2,194 comments) says:

    Manolo, Parekura (bless his cotton socks) was probably earning more than that as a senior public servant in the Maori Affairs Ministry in his day. Recent revelations on salaries indicate that Te Puni Kokiri and Pacific Island Affairs are the best paying Ministies in Government. No need to get your Master of Public Policy or PhD in economics if you want the big bucks. and access to the koha fund.

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  26. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    It is not a universal rule, but for those from the centre-left an MPs pay packet is the highest salary they have ever had in their lives. While for many from the centre-right, it is a considerable drop in income.

    That’s the great thing about democracy. People from less-wealthy walks of life get to influence how THEIR country is run. ;-)

    http://libcom.org/files/images/iww-capitalist-pyramid_0.jpg

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  27. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    I’m glad that MP’s salaries are now determined by an independent body and I’m also glad that the various ‘perks’ are being progressively stripped away and rounded into the salary. Makes it much more transparent which can only be a good thing.
    If MP’s incur genuine business costs as a part of their business then they have to save receipts and get them audited just like everybody else in any normal job – glad to see this is finally happening, but why did it take so long.

    I’d be really interested to know on what basis the salaries are determined. How can you benchmark to the private sector when the private sector doesn’t have MP’s. If you are benchmarking to other nations how do you allow for differences in their government structures, size of country, level of responsibility, other perks they get etc.

    My preference would be that MP’s salaries were benchmarked against one of either the average wage or the minimum wage to reflect the fact that a big element of their job is to improve the financial wellbeing of New Zealanders – so it operates kind of like performance pay. e.g. average working wage of 50k, MP salary of 2 times the average wage making it $100k and that would increase or decrease depending on if wages go up or stagnate.

    The average wage: It would make sense for this to be the median wage rather than mean as outliers created by increased inequality would be seen as a plus. It also might make sense for it to be the average income – that way the wellbeing of non wage earners may be de-prioritised (e.g. allowing more people to fall onto welfare through an excessive minimum wage could pump the average working wage but make more NZers worse off, similar with cuts to pensions).

    The minimum wage: To reflect their role in looking after the wellbeing of the worst off (John Rawls’ MaxiMin principle). The big risk with setting MP’s salaries as a multiplier of the minimum wage is that it may prompt unreasonable jumps in the minimum wage. Setting as a multiplier of the minimum income under a Universal Minimum Income policy (such as the Gareth Morgan proposal) might work though as it’s universal it does not priveledge certain groups over others.

    @Falafulu
    Not sure about political parties funding their MP’s. Would just encourage a USA type system where MP’s are ‘owned’ by the special interests who pay them and get them elected. If you think Labour is too heavily union influenced now imagine what they would be like if they were completely owned and paid by the unions. I don’t think it makes for great public servants.

    Interesting the way the Greens work is that the MP’s pay the party. Their MP’s give a minimum of 10% of their salary in donations to the party to pay for policy development, election campaigning, member administration etc. This reflects the fact that as a list only party they owe their jobs to the party and policy platform that elected them.
    http://www.elections.org.nz/rules/parties/party-donations/party-donation-returns-2010.html

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  28. Grendel (1,013 comments) says:

    if thats true RRM then would they do it for half the salary?

    if its just about influence then the salary is not the point right?

    or do they talk about the less well off to get in, but forget about them the moment they see their free ipad?

    and how many of them are actually the less well off when they run for govt? i am sure the union reps only earn the same as their members, and the public servants eek by on a stipend. no they will all be earning a lot more than the poor people they claim to represent, but for some reason also think they are due to earn 140K a year to talk about how hard it is being poor.

    anyway democracy is not a great way to run a country, just a good way to choose politicians.

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  29. dime (10,212 comments) says:

    I like the idea of list MP’s earning less. I’d cap em at 100 grand.

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  30. alwyn (439 comments) says:

    swan @10.41am.
    I quite agree that he’s probably overpaid. Personally I think most of them are.
    I was just answering the question as to why the Labour leader and not the Green leader was the Leader of the Opposition.
    david @10.49am
    The Mana leader is there in the list at about $157,550. I would assume that if they are not in a ministerial role that is the same as Dunne and Banks would get. I think the DavidF is assuming that they will have some ministerial role.

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  31. Grendel (1,013 comments) says:

    yep and the greens being beholden to their party shows clearly they are not here for the people of NZ but for the green party, if they are not ‘green’ enough or do not toe the party line well enough they get moved off the list.

    at least an electorate mp is elected on their own merits to support their party, and more often than not from my memory wins the by election if they leave the party. this makes them more beholden to their constituents (barring the stupid list) than the party.

    who knew we had another reason to dislike the greens, their contempt for actually being there for the people, rather than the party.

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  32. swan (665 comments) says:

    I think we need to acknowledge that an MP’s annual salary is not directly comparable a lot of other jobs. The risk is considerably higher. One effectively has to put on hold their existing career to even try to become an MP. You then are only guaranteed your pay for 3 years, before you are potentially on the scrapheap. In some careers it may be very damaging to prospects to campaign for a political party.

    Not that I think they dont get paid enough, or feel sorry for them, but this is the reality.

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  33. Grendel (1,013 comments) says:

    no one goes into politics by anything but choice, so i have no sympathy to the damage they may do to their outside career. i worry about the inate narcissism of anyone who thinks they are important enough to run the country, but thats a whole different chapter i think.

    does anyone on the left care that John Key is losing money being in politics? personally i think it means he is there to do a job, get it done and then get out. he is not there for the money, he needs to get back to the private sector to maintain his wealth (at some level, i am sure he is not stressed about it for now).

    but if you are one of the greens, labour, maori, mana or nzfirst mps who is getting a payrise to be in parliament your focus is not to get the job done, but to make it last as long as possible, becuase you know you will not earn the same when you leave.

    its why georgina beyer had a tanty when she left as she was not offered any cushy roles just for having been in parliament (dover samuels as well).

    its why trevor got so nasty, if labour truly tanks he does not want to go back to being a teacher and not being able to punch people with impunity/immunity. if he had any honour and could earn outside parliament he would resign for his utter bungling of the campaign. but its the trough or the dole queue for him, so he shows no shame and keeps troughing.

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  34. hubbers (146 comments) says:

    Tax the rich pricks :D

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  35. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    but if you are one of the greens, labour, maori, mana or nzfirst mps who is getting a payrise to be in parliament your focus is not to get the job done, but to make it last as long as possible, becuase you know you will not earn the same when you leave.

    Speak for yourself…

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  36. Grendel (1,013 comments) says:

    wow, such depth RRM. i believe i did just speak for myself, pointing out the truth of the trough.

    So you think Goff has been in parliament for 30 years because he is just about to get everything he wanted done, or because this is the best money he will ever earn and he is addicted to power?

    tell how many private organisations were desperately wanting to hire G Hughes, or delahunty or mahuta, or hone or any number of the rest of them for 140K a year.

    they are all addicted to the trough and will do whatever it takes to maintain it because they know they will never earn the same again.

    and if its not about the money, why are they not calling for their salary to be reduced so more money can go to the ‘poor’

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  37. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    So you think Goff has been in parliament for 30 years because he is just about to get everything he wanted done, or because this is the best money he will ever earn and he is addicted to power?

    On level 13-and-a-half of Bowen house there’s a secret door that takes you inside Phil Goff’s head. I’ll do that later on today, then I’ll come back here and tell you about his private motivations for spending half a lifetime in politics. :-)

    tell how many private organisations were desperately wanting to hire G Hughes, or delahunty or mahuta, or hone or any number of the rest of them for 140K a year.

    Utterly irrelevant. You and I know what the salaries are for THIS job, and we hired them [through the polls] to do THIS job.

    Don’t get me wrong I think backbenchers’ salaries you could legitimately raise an eyebrow over, what they do seems more akin to a tradesman employee. Ministers’ salaries seem about the right size for the responsibilities imo…

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  38. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    @Grendel “yep and the greens being beholden to their party shows clearly they are not here for the people of NZ”
    Who votes for the party if not the members and the section of the public who they have been able to successfully sell their message to (through the actions of the party)?

    You seem to have a very idealised view of the role of electorates and the fact that they are free from party influence. If it is all about independence and loyalty to constituents then I would question why we do not have a successful ‘Independent’ in any of our 70 electorate seats – and our two pseudo-independent one person parties on the right of the spectrum exist purely because the National party implicitly endorsed them and refused to campaign against them.

    I would argue that electorates leave people far more beholden to the party establishment. The party nomination process decides who stands in ‘safe’ seats. Which is what allows Phil Goff to helicopter in his buddy, that nobody had ever heard of before, to win the Mt Albert byelection or John Key to determine who wins the Botany byelection on the basis of who gets to have a blue N next to their name on the ballot. You can have the best local candidate in the world who cares deeply about their constituents but they are not going to win Manurewa without Labour party endorsement or Remuera without National party endorsement. This is part of the problem in the US with their FPP system and gerrymandered electorates. The biggest challenge to the Republican candidate is their opponent in the party primaries where ideological purity and a refusal to compromise wins votes, so Reps and Dems become progressively more polarised and are discouraged from compromising, even when it is in the best ineterests of the country (such as the debt ceiling fiasco).

    By comparison List MP’s get in on the basis of whether their party platform has broad public support. Each one is responsible for growing the vote to deliver themselves to parliament. The reason the Greens have four more seats than last election is that they managed to grow their support from the public by tens of thousands of votes. If any MP brings the party into disrepute they will be dealt with pretty quickly as a loss in popularity of the party threatens the jobs of all the MP’s – if popularity with the public drops below 5% then everybody is out of a job come election time. That seems to be a pretty good motivator to serve the voters and not take them for granted. The big criticism of lists is that they are decided by the party and not the voting public, but the Greens are more immune than the other parties to that criticism as at least anybody who wants can join the party and vote on the list ranking and party leadership.

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  39. Michaels (1,233 comments) says:

    I couldn’t possibly remember how many times Goff said that he and John Key didn’t need the tax cuts, well I bet he will be happy now considering he is taking a $116000 pay cut. What a fuck, would have to be the biggest pay cut anyone has received.

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  40. DrDr (113 comments) says:

    Does anyone know whether John Key takes his salary? I seem to remember that at one stage he said he would not take it, or would donate it to charity. Is this true?

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  41. redeye (633 comments) says:

    The total cost of MP’s wages are? Anyone?

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  42. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    I look at the hours, travel and constant scrutiny and criticism involved in being an MP and frankly I would not take the pay cut required to do the job. I’ve done my dash with huge hours, starting a business, big risks etc However, this implies to me it’s not overpaid. I do have concerns about the hangers on but am more focussed on those who do make a contribution and as little as I appreciate Goff’s politics or approach for instance it’s pretty clear he worked like a Trojan and for that he appears to deserve the remuneration he received. I then compare this to many of the people I see in corporates receiving comparable and better salaries who are frankly beneficiaries of the Peter Principle – this also indicates that salaries for MPs are probably about right.

    It would be nice if successful business people did not have to take a pay cut to become MPs but if they were higher salaried the pay rise the academics, teachers, professional politicians and unionists predominantly of the left would attract too many for the wrong reasons. There needs to be a significant element of altruism in our MPs and despite what we might think many of the left do passionately believe in what they preach and making the salaries reasonably attractive is more likely to mean better MPs from the left so making sure salaries are not too high and not too low is important.

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  43. david (2,194 comments) says:

    OTOH Grendel, the parties can be pretty savage with their demands. Have a look at the party donation lists especially for the Greens. They may not call it a tithe but … “a tithe by any other name … “

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  44. Paulus (2,707 comments) says:

    DrDr – John Key does not take his salary, which goes to Charity.

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  45. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    @Paulus
    “John Key does not take his salary, which goes to Charity.”

    This is the assertion. I’ve never actually seen that backed up by any evidence. I’m not saying that it is not the case, but it seems funny that nobody has ever asked which charity or charities are the beneficiary of over $400,000 a year in Prime Ministerial generosity…

    If JK is worth $50Mil as is commonly quoted then this is equivalent to him giving away 1% of his net worth a year – this is not an insignificant sum, his not making a big deal about giving away $400k a year to charity (and around 1.2 million to date since he became PM) and not seeking any kind of publicity for it would make him a most fantastic and modest philanthropist.

    Also – a point of clarification. Not taking his salary (i.e. leaving it in the governments consolidated account) is not quite the same thing as drawing a salary and then giving it away.

    I’m surprised nobody in the media has done an investigative peice on this story yet, I’d be interested to hear the actual facts on this.

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  46. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Richard29 –

    I’ve never heard anything about Key giving it away.
    But if he is I imagine he is the sort of man who would have the good grace not to blow his own trumpet about it.

    See not all us lefties hate him ;-)

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  47. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    @RRM

    I don’t hate the guy – I just think the “he gives away his whole salary to charity” thing is a bit of an urban myth that’s been circulating for ages but never really backed up by anything.

    I did a quick google on it and all I could find is this stuff article from 2008:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/573560/Key-pledges-PMs-salary-to-charity
    The headline is somewhat misleading, he actually gives away “a good part” of the salary he receives, not the whole thing. How much a good part is is anybody’s guess – If I was the charity on the receiving end I would say $10,000 would be an exceptionally good part – although that’s only a quarter of one percent of his salary. I would suspect he gives a lot more than most MP’s and a fair bit less than some others. But “PM gives a small share of his earnings to charity just like a lot of people do” hasn’t got quite the same sizzle factor as a headline.

    Still, the fact that this salary charity comment is so vague didn’t prevent the NBR from running this odd headline saying how great it was that John Key, as a very high earner, was getting a tax cut because charities would be better off:
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/charities-will-benefit-john-keys-pay-rise-37919

    I think the whole salary charity thing is bizarre. It seems like it’s probably an off the cuff comment he made three years ago in response to being challenged on giving a big tax cut to high income earners and it’s just kind of become this urban myth that keeps getting repeated and growing bigger on each retelling…

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  48. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    I would love to see all these salaries tied directly to the median New Zealand wage. For example, an ordinary MP could get paid 2x the median, committee chairs 4x, ministers 6x and the PM 8x. That way if they wanted a pay increase, they would have to run the country properly and grow the economy. I guarantee you would see much better political decisions being made!

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  49. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    How much a good part is is anybody’s guess – If I was the charity on the receiving end I would say $10,000 would be an exceptionally good part – although that’s only a quarter of one percent of his salary.

    Out by a factor of 10. A quarter of one percent would be $1000. You’re talking about 2.5%, here, not 0.25%

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  50. kunst5 (51 comments) says:

    Most private sectors are financially struggling to make profit and pay revenue to the state and governments/ public servants make them selves higher salaries – no wonder why nations go bankrupt under the current worldwide economic/ financial situation.
    Megalomaniac by our government needs to be stopped.

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  51. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    @Graeme Edgeler

    Oops – you are right of course. I initially had $1000 as the imaginary donation amount and then changed it to $10,000 to be more imaginary generous – but didn’t change the calculation.

    Anyway – the point is, it’s JK’s business how much he donates but the ‘He doesn’t draw a salary’ or ‘He gives it all to charity’ myth seems to have got out of hand (I heard it on talkback a while back as well, and from the host not some random uninformed caller).

    The better response back in 2005 when challenged over how much he might personally benefit from the tax cut would have been to point out that he took a massive pay cut to work in the political arena so it’s highly cynical and logically flawed to accuse him of giving a tax cut for the purpose of lining his own pocket, if that was his main objective he could have stayed in currency trading. But we can cut him some slack for an off the cuff comment, I don’t think he could have forseen that a cult of personality and a lazy media would turn it into this uber philanthropist myth that it’s become.

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  52. Clint Heine (1,495 comments) says:

    Shit it would be funny to watch that awful Sepolini line up at WINZ.

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  53. Chuck Bird (4,892 comments) says:

    The MPs claim their salaries are set independently but the terms are set by them.

    The MPs sort of lost their perks because the public became aware how they abused them.

    A component of the latest pay rise compensate for their perks. If they wanted to set an example they could decline that part of the rise. This could save 10s of millions if not 100s of millions.

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  54. bka (135 comments) says:

    For those MPs with real talent, they get to demonstrate it in a very public setting, which should set them up well for life after Parliament, it’s an opportunity. So pay them pretty well to discourage abuse of their positions, but not necessarily as much as for top private sector roles.
    Even John Key, in future work he might not get paid more than he used to, but one day having been a Prime Minister will have broadened the possible range of interesting carers he can move on to.

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