Parliament’s sickie system

Audrey Young reports:

’s voluntary two-month leave from has highlighted loopholes in the rules on MPs’ absences that could allow an MP to stay off work until the next election on almost full pay.

Speaker Lockwood Smith said yesterday he wants to address the unsatisfactory rules.

An electorate MP could stay away for the rest of the parliamentary term with very little penalty – a maximum of $30 a week in a sitting week – under the Civil List Act 1979.

Dr Smith said yesterday that was inadequate and he wanted it addressed.

“I have a real concern for the integrity of Parliament and it worries me that a member could, in a worst case scenario, decide they are not coming back at all this term,”

Yeah, the penalty for absence without leave should be something alone the lines of 50% of their pay – not less than 1% of their pay.

Mr Carter, who was adamant during his attacks last week on Labour leader Phil Goff, that he wasn’t unwell, is said by friends to be sick and in need of rest. …

Dr Smith said he had received a letter from Mr Carter’s lawyer – friend Claudia Elliot – saying he would be away from Parliament for two months because he was “unwell and unfit to attend work”.

I guess a lawyer’s letter trumps a doctor’s certificate as they earn more money. Who needs to spend six years studying internal medicine etc, when a lawyer can determine not just that you are sick – but even calculate in advance how much leave you will need.

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