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Alliance advocates pay cut for MPs

The Alliance Party is advocating a pay cut for Members of Parliament.

Party co-leader Paul Piesse said today that M.P.s could not seriously relate to the problems experienced by the majority of citizens they are supposed to represent while they enjoy vastly superior pay and conditions.

"Our policy is to peg M.P.s pay to that of a significant number of the State's own employees - teachers", said Mr Piesse. "That would be a convenient and reasonable benchmark. The current rate for primary and secondary teachers with a 3-year degree and one year's teacher training is $59,537."

Mr Piesse said that senior teachers and M.P.s were paid similarly in 1979, and added that "since then, our parliamentary representatives have become an elite, and they should be brought back to earth."

"Those who make the rules relating to tax and superannuation conditions for the State's employees should apply the same rules to themselves", he said.

ENDS

Policy 2005
MP Pay and Conditions

The low-down…

- MPs are supposed to represent the whole nation and yet their pay and conditions put them in the top 1% of income earners (not including any other business income they may have). Their pay rates, and particularly the way they are set and conditions changed by MPs themselves, is a source of anger and resentment in the community.

The next steps…

- The Alliance in Parliament would push for MPs’ pay to be linked directly to the top of basic scale for primary and secondary teachers with a 3-year degree and 1 year of teacher training, currently $59,537.

- This is not supposed to be a fair reflection of the responsibilities and workload of MPs, which would undoubtedly result in pay rates as high, or even higher than currently paid. Rather it is a reflection of the special role they have in our society and the need for our representatives to have an awareness of the people’s everyday lives and existence.

- The link has some historical significance as senior teachers and MPs were paid the same rate in 1979. Since then MPs’ pay increases have effectively doubled that of teachers.

- There are undoubtedly additional costs to being an MP. An obvious one is childcare, as MPs are required to work away from home on a regular basis. Where exceptional costs are identified, then MPs should be fully reimbursed for these costs. Consideration should also be given to other conditions which can be improved to allow MPs more time with their families.

- The Alliance will advocate for this policy to be implemented for all MPs.

- Alliance MPs’ salaries will be subject to both this policy and to the Alliance income taxation policy from the time of their election to Parliament.

- Alliance candidates will commit before selection to pledging their parliamentary salary above the amount advocated by Alliance policy to a party campaign fund under the control of the Alliance Council. They will sign a pledge acknowledging that failure to do so will amount to resignation from the party and from Parliament.

Other MP conditions

- Remove all ex-MP travel subsidies.

- Remove pay differential for Ministers – one pay rate for all MPs.

- MP pay and conditions (including allowances) to be consistent with tax rules applied to all other New Zealanders.

- Review of MP working hours and conditions to allow more time to be spent with families.

- Review MPs’ superannuation scheme, so that the employer’s contributions are reduced to the level of the former Government Superannuation Fund.

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