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MPs Expenses Bill Sent To Select Committee

Proposals to overhaul the way MPs and ministers are paid would be a significant improvement on the current regime, Parliament was told today.

Introducing the Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill, Chris Finlayson on behalf of the Prime Minister said the current regime was complicated, confusing and lacked transparency.

The bill acknowledged MPs still needed to be ``properly supported’’ and the integrity of Parliament maintained.

Travel and expenses of MPs would be dealt with by the Remuneration Authority and the voluntary disclosure of travel expenses, which had been widely welcomed, would now become mandatory.

Mr Finlayson said under the new regime rules and responsibilities would be more clearly spelt out in one piece of legislation.

Trevor Mallard said Labour would support the bill’s passage unless something surprising came up.

The Law Commission had done a good job, but there was still a question about how much should be written into legislation and how much should be left to the Remuneration Authority to decide by determination, he said

The ``Chris Carter’’ clause to dock absent MPs pay should also be looked at to see if the proposed percentage of pay docked a day went far enough, he said. Though there was wide agreement the current $10 a day was too low.

The bill passed its first reading on a voice vote and was sent to the Government Administration Committee to be reported back by August 31.

MPs began the committee stage of the Student Loan Amendment Scheme.

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