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Green Party backs MP pay freeze

The Green Party backs the Government’s decision to freeze MPs’ pay for the next year and welcomes a review that will investigate changes down the track to ensure pay increases are in line with increases other working New Zealanders receive.

“The Green Party has long called for fairer pay settings for MPs so pay changes match what is happening with workers’ pay,” Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson said.

“MPs are paid well above the average worker, so giving them a percentage rise accentuates their higher pay. When it is right for MPs to get a rise, they should get the same in dollar terms as what the average worker receives.”

While in the last five years in percentage terms the median individual wage has risen substantially more than a Backbenchers’ pay – 16.9% versus 10.9% - that amount in dollar terms is nearly 3.5 times more for the MP -- $16,161 versus $4,641*. A Backbencher’s annual basic salary is $163,961.

Cabinet today agreed to freeze MPs’ pay, allowances and superannuation for the next year. Pay increases are currently determined by the Remuneration Authority under a formula set in law, so this new policy requires legislation in parliament. There will also be a review to scrutinise future MP pay increases down the track.

“It is fantastic that there will be a review into MP pay increases in the long run, it is absolutely right that we interrogate how much MPs are paid to ensure they’re not receiving increases that are unfair compared to other New Zealanders who are experiencing slow wage growth.

“This Government is committed to being responsible with public funds. We have had nine years under National that has caused widespread poverty, homelessness and a big percentage of people in work and out struggling to make ends meet. We consider increases in MPs’ pay better used for other Government priorities.”

*Figures supplied by the Parliamentary library.