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Greens' MP pay policy on the money - Taxpayers' Union

In a rare alignment, the Taxpayers' Union and the Green Party are on the same page.

The right wing lobby group likes the Greens' new policy for performance pay for MPs - up to a point.

Earlier today, the Greens launched a new policy to link MPs' salaries to the median income, to make sure that MPs' salaries are part of the solution to rising inequality, rather than part of the problem.

Under this policy, MPs salaries would increase or decrease by the same dollar amount that the median individual income increases or decreases.

Rather than the current annual review carried out by the Remuneration Authority that sets MPs' salaries, the Remuneration Authority would be required to apply the annual change in median individual income supplied by Statistics New Zealand.

"The Green Party thinks that MPs' salary increases or decreases should be directly linked to the movement in the incomes of middle New Zealand," Green co-leader Russel Norman said.

Responding to the announcement, Taxpayer's Union executive directoir Jordan Williams said, "Finally a political party is recognising the need to tie MPs' pay to the country's performance. While we would prefer MPs' pay to reflect changes in GDP, the policy is a step in the right direction."

Over time, the Green's policy would reduce MPs' pay relative to the average taxpayer who foots the bill, Mr Jordan said.

"It would also mean MPs' pay would reduce if household incomes do. It would remove the effective ratchet clause currently in place. We welcome that aspect."


Comments and questions

Couldn't agree less. MPs are worth more than the median income. Certainly, there are a few who do not pull their weight, but their parties usually dump them after a term. I know this is not the popular view, but in spite of the public bar and talk-back rhetoric, MPs do work hard with long hours. Compare them to similar positions in the private sector - not the overall median is the fair thing to do, and that is precisely what the higher salaries mob does.

Read more carefully, Veronica. They have suggested that changes to MP's salaries are tied to change in the median income, not the nominal level of income.

Exactly. Mr. Norman says this will eventually lead to lower salaries in line with the median income; he is promoting a parliament full of sycophants and mediocre soap-box rabble.

You've misread - they want to raise or lower salary based on the changes in median wage, not pay them the median wage.

I think they should actually be paid the median income of NZ, but of course have all work related expenses covered. I do agree they work hard, but who doesn't? Being an MP is a public service, they should want to be there more for that fact than for the money. It would be interesting to see how many would reconsider their motivations for actually being in parliament.

I wish the remuneration authority would set my next pay raise...

The Greens' party leaders should stop playing to the gallery, bite the bullet and support the independent authorities pay recommendations for our MPs. If their' salaries fall behind, the calibre of people entering politics will be no better than that of our current bunch of Green party MPs. With the hopeful exception of Green party MPs, today's backbenchers are tomorrow's ministers and prime ministers.

The only flaw in the policy is that it gives MPs an incentive to allow inflation to increase.

An additional aspect that would be needed would be tighter rules around lobbyist contributions.

We don't want to end up like the USA where congressmen and women are essentially bought by lobbyists to enact laws in favour of said lobbyists.

The point is, you tie salaries to the performance of the economy. Perhaps GDP as the taxpayers union suggests is a better yardstick.

The same logic should apply to the retirement age. At the moment, it's a squabble over a number. But it should be a squabble over an equation. Why would you NOT tie retirement and entitlement age to life expectancy? What could be fairer?

Similarly, the minimum wage shouldn't be an arbitrary number, but linked to a consistently measurable economic marker, such as GDP or median wage.

Of course, you'd still have the debate (i.e. if X% of the economic marker, then what is X?) but at least it would be a meaningful debate that would make the participants' interests clearer.

Performance pay sounds much better. This could be easily managed, by linking it to MP's super.

Long prison sentences for MP's who have shown to be dishonest, and a blanket rule that no MP's are allowed blind trusts (anywhere).

We will then get some transparency with governance.