Parliamentary funding

Vernon Small at Stuff reports:

Labour is slashing its parliamentary staff numbers, after its poor election result sliced an estimated $700,000 off its funding.

As part of the cost-cutting the number of press secretaries working for the 34 MPs has been cut from five to three; one fewer than the press team that works exclusively for Prime Minister John Key.

There will also be likely job losses in other areas, but these are yet to be finalised, as Labour looks for savings to cover what is understood to be a 20 per cent fall in funding from $3.5m before the election to about $2.8m now.

My sympathies go out to those who lose their jobs. One of the things I hated about working at was seeing some good friends lose their jobs after elections or leadership changes.

I’ve run the numbers through Excel to calculate funding changes. Each party gets funded a certain amount for its leaders office and research unit. This is based on how many MPs you have, and how many are not Ministers. I call this the central funding.

Also each MP gets individual funding depending on if they are an electorate MP, List MP, or their electorate is over a certain size. The current funding is:

  • Leadership – $100,000/party and $64,320/MP
  • Party/Research – $22,000/MP not in the Executive
  • MP – $105,192/seat over 20k sq kms or if Maori seat over 10k sq kms
  • MP – $64,260/other electorate seats
  • MP – $40,932/List MP

In theory the MPs funding is for them to spend, but in reality the party leadership can also direct how that is spent, and it can all be pooled together. So for example Trevor Mallard can exceed his $64,260 if the Labour Leadership agree to cover it, but vice versa if Trevor spends say $20,000 under his budget then that Labour Leadership can spend it on say policy brochures or staff.

The total funding per party (including MPs funding) is:

  • National $7,166,76o (was $6,957,704)
  • Labour $5,103,512 (was 6,061,724)
  • Greens $1,881,016 (was $1,245,268)
  • NZ First $1,118,016
  • Maori $504,965 (was $724,260)
  • Mana $291,512
  • ACT $186,260 (was $630,948)
  • United Future $186,260 (was $186,260)
  • Total $16,438,812 (was $16,056,744)

That’s a $950,000 drop for Labour, which does hurt. Greens gain $650,000 and NZ First gains $1.1m.

The average funding per MP can be interesting:

  1. Mana $291,512
  2. ACT/United $186,260
  3. Maori $168,321
  4. Labour 150,103
  5. NZ First $139,752
  6. Greens $134,395
  7. National $121,471

National is lower as there is no leadership funding for MPs who are Ministers. Mana does very nicely thank you very much.

Note that while political staff are hired out of the funding, each MP is also entitled to two (list) or three (electorate) executive assistants to work in their parliamentary and out of parliament offices.

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