Incentive pay for MPs

Stephen Franks

The moot for the New Zealand Initiative's youth debate semi-final this year in Wellington is a good one -

"Should New Zealand tie MPs' and Ministers' salaries to a multiple of the average national income?"

When the Remuneration Authority was asking MPs about reform of the system 10 years ago, I urged that parties be given a material amount they could distribute among their members according to their pre-Parliament incomes, to do three things:

  • reduce the income cut involved in going to Parliament for people for whom there is much more to lose, and
  • reduce the overpayment of the kind or people who would never be thought useful enough outside Parliament to get anywhere near their Parliamentary income, so they don't cling quite so desperately to their places; and
  • have the supplement reduce each year after entry to Parliament, to encourage turnover of people who have not progressed.

I also suggested a trailing commission, to induce longer term thinking among MPs. Exec incentive schemes that fail to add a trailing element or to defer vesting encourage manipulation of reporting and incentivise short term results. In politics that there is already more than enough incentive for false reporting and short-temism in the 3 year electoral cycle.

Accordingly MPs should have a material part of their remuneration deferred each year. If the MP demands immediate payment is should be substantially discounted. The deferred amount (say half) might be paid out say five years later, multiplied by 2 times or 5 times the GDP or average income growth in the five years. If it shifted MPs horizons, it would be money incredibly well spent even if they tripled or quadrupled their incomes.

For an even longer perspective, simply make the deferral period longer.

Stephen Franks is principal of Wellington commercial and public law firm Franks and Ogilvie.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about My Tags

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.8012 0.0052 0.65%
AUD 0.9077 0.0006 0.07%
EUR 0.6252 0.0028 0.45%
GBP 0.4952 0.0024 0.49%
HKD 6.2173 0.0415 0.67%
JPY 85.2240 0.1390 0.16%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1244.2 5.700 2014-10-20T00:
Oil Brent 85.4 -0.760 2014-10-20T00:
Oil Nymex 82.8 -0.040 2014-10-20T00:
Silver Index 17.3 0.020 2014-10-20T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5197.9 5238.9 5197.9 0.68%
NASDAQ 4254.2 4316.9 4258.4 1.35%
DAX 8819.3 8834.7 8850.3 -1.50%
DJI 16373.1 16401.6 16380.4 0.12%
FTSE 6310.3 6320.3 6310.3 -0.68%
HKSE 23073.4 23231.5 23070.3 -0.25%
NI225 15115.3 15115.3 15111.2 -1.66%