Judges’ Pay

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key expects other high-earners paid from the public purse to follow MPs and the Governor-General by asking not to get a pay rise this year.

Parliament yesterday unanimously agreed to ask the Remuneration Authority not to lift MPs’ wages when they are reviewed in the middle of this year.

The Remuneration Authority is responsible for setting the salaries of MPs, judges, local body councillors and public sector bosses.

“I’m sure judges and the like will take a similar view and I’m sure the Remuneration Authority, in reaching their conclusion, will take into consideration that this is a time of restraint and it’s important that we, as well-paid New Zealanders, show leadership,” said Mr Key

Good God, this is about as subtle as firing a flare gun through the door of the court. The PM is basically telling Judges to suck it up and also ask for a nil pay rise.

John has to be careful here. Trying to pressure Judges into a nil pay rise, isn’t that far removed from trying to pressure them into a pay cut. And in real terms, a nil increase is a pay cut. The motives are good, but perhaps the Attorney-General could point out to the Prime Minister that rather useful piece of law known as The Constitution Act 1986:

24 Salaries of Judges not to be reduced
  • The salary of a Judge of the High Court shall not be reduced during the continuance of the Judge’s commission.

Dean Knight also blogs on this issue, and suggests freezing Judges salaries could border on unconstitutional.

John did say he admired Muldoon when he was at school. Hopefully admiration does not become emulation!

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