Groundhog day with MP pay

The Government’s attempt to set new rules for more modest pay rises for MPs has failed because the next pay rise will be in line with the average for the previous six years under the old rules, the Green Party said.

“After all the fuss for the Government to urgently change the rules earlier this year, it looks like the results of the new system for setting MP pay are pretty much the same as under the old system,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“This is yet another example of the Government trying to look like they’re fixing a problem but not actually making the changes that are needed to fix it properly.

“For households doing it tough this winter, particularly in rural areas where the plummeting dairy price is hitting hard, hearing that the Prime Minister is likely to get an $11,000 pay rise won’t do much to lift their spirits or help them pay their bills.”

New rules rushed through Parliament with no public consultation earlier in 2015 pegged MP pay rises to public sector wages measured in the Quarterly Employment Survey, which was released this week. MPs are likely to get a 2.6 percent pay rise next year, which compares to a 2.7 percent average for the past six years.

While the Remuneration Authority has not yet formalised the pay increase, Prime Minister John Key is likely to receive $11,381 more – almost $220 more a week – and backbench MPs are likely to receive a $3925 pay rise, or $75 a week.

“It’s disgraceful that the public didn’t get a say in how MP pay is set – after all, MPs are supposed to be working for New Zealanders,” said Mrs Turei.

“The Quarterly Employment Survey is the wrong thing to measure because Statistics NZ says that the Labour Cost Index is a better measurement of long term trends, and using the Labour Cost Index would have resulted in a more modest pay rise for MPs of around 1.2 percent.

“An even fairer solution would be indexing MP pay to the nominal median income – if the median income goes up $200, so should MPs pay go up $200,” Mrs Turei said.