Decisions over MPs’ and ministers’ entitlements will be handed over to the independent Remuneration Authority, the Government has announced.
Prime Minister John Key said he had introduced legislation repealing the Civil List Act 1979 and bringing together more of the powers to decide MPs and ministers’ travel, accommodation and communications entitlements under one Act.
Under the new Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) bill:
* Most travel and accommodation entitlements for MPs and ministers would be set by the authority rather than Parliament’s Speaker or the minister responsible for Ministerial Services.
*MPs would be required by law to disclose their travel and accommodation expenses – they do so voluntarily at the moment.
* MPs will be docked 0.2 per cent of their salary – currently $270 a day – for non-attendance.
Over the last three years there has been a huge increase in transparency and accountability over MPs expenses. This continues that trend.
I still advocate that a further logical step is to change the timing of MPs salary years from annually in arrears to setting them once every three years just before the election. Then that pay rate applies for the term of Parliament, and MPs don’t have t put up with all the crap when the Remuneration Authority gives them a backdated payrise.