The Speaker has tabled a report which proposes a massive massive increase in funding for MPs, almost all of it to benefit Government MPs.
We’ve got the Government turning down a 3% pay rise, which is chicken feed compared to the 20% increase in funding that has been proposed for them.
The details will make your blood boil. They overwhelmingly benefit the Government. The major changes proposed are:
- List MPs to get the same funding as Electorate MPs. 34 of the 49 List MPs are Government MPs. It is a huge boost for Labour, Greens and NZ First. It is also wrong as Electorate MPs have far greater demands on them. They represent an actual constituency and need extra staff to deal with all the constituent issues. Many List MPs do very little constituency work, and any extra funding will go on advertising and campaigning.
- Parties won’t lose funding if they lose MPs at an election. At the moment a party gets funded based on their actual number of MPs. Totally sensible. This report proposes a gerrymander where National and Labour get guaranteed 38% of the funding regardless of their number of MPs, and NZ First and Greens get 8% minimum, again regardless of their number of MPs.
- Also outrageous is it proposes Ministers get extra staff. Ministers already get totally funded for their staffing needs through Ministerial Services. And the number of staff is already 13% higher than the last Government. This report proposes each Minister also get an additional staffer funded through The Parliamentary Service. So a huge boost of 30 more staff for the Government. It also may allow Ministers to avoid the OIA by having one of their staff working for The Parliamentary Service instead of Ministerial Services.
- And bad enough this $13 million increase in funding for MPs, but they want to have it get even bigger every year. They recommend an automatic 3.3% to 3.7% increase every year, which means Parliament will be the only public sector organisation that doesn’t have to make a business case to justify extra spending.
This proposal is a huge rort designed to massively increase funding for Government MPs.
And it is the Government that effectively decides whether or not to accept the recommendations.
They will vote to give themselves this massive boost in taxpayer funding, unless the price for doing so is too high. Taxpayers and voters need to demand that the recommendations in the report not be adopted. How dare MPs consider giving themselves 20% more resources when they say there is so little money for schools and hospitals.
So be prepared to make this a real battle. If the Government moves to give themselves 20% more resources, we have to make sure every voter in NZ knows what their priorities are – more money for List MPs.