Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has done well to call for a freeze in the salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament for a year.
She has also announced that the government will develop a formula for future increases, which would not only be in line with the increase in salaries of others but also be justifiable.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said that the Government needed to take action before the Remuneration Authority initiated new pay rates.
It is untenable that the Remuneration Authority incessantly rises the salaries and allowance of MPs year after year, and it is equally untenable that elected representatives of the people and the so-called mainstream media, while criticising the small rises in minimum wages, criticise the government for its action. Free speech sometimes is the enemy of democracy!
Some say that Politics should not be seen as a money-spinning career, it is a civic calling they intone. Yet the same is true of many well-paid jobs, including voters’ preferred comparators.
Most accept that although these careers involve a civic duty, they demand degrees of professionalism, skill and dedication that entitle practitioners to professional-level salaries.
New Zealanders have high expectations of their Parliamentarians. They expect their MPs to give up their weekends, families and friends and attend events. They expect them to solve their immigration, education and financial matters.
During his eight years in office as Prime Minister, John Key used to say every year that MPs do not need a huge pay rise and that he would change the law. But he never did, except, as the National Business Review wrote, ‘except to hide the setting of MPs perks behind the Remuneration Authority blame-sink.’
The publication also said, “It is amazing how powerless the Prime Minister is on this, when he can ram new spying powers through in less than a month and pass a law to pillage the conservation state overnight.”
There is hope that Jacinda Ardern will be more decisive.
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