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Alliance Party calls for MPs to take pay cut

Alliance Party calls for MPs to take pay cut in troubled times

Alliance Party Media Release - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sunday October 19th, 2008

Alliance Party Co-Leader Kay Murray has challenged Helen Clark and John Key to follow the example recently announced by the Irish Prime Minister, and ask MPs to take a 10% pay cut in the face of the predicted financial deficit the country will be plunged into for the foreseeable future as a result of the world economic crisis.

"Notwithstanding that Irish politicians minus 10% are still well paid by world standards, it gives the clear message that everyone must make sacrifices not just the lower paid workers and those who rely on government social services. It would not be a very big sacrifice. MPs would still have a very generous salary compared to most of the rest of us. The average wage is around $45,000 a year," says Ms Murray.

"The Alliance has always felt that MPs salaries and conditions, which put them in the top 1% of income earners, make them out of touch with the people they are supposed to represent. The Alliance believes that MP's have a special role in our society as they need to have an awareness of people's everyday lives and existence."

The Alliance would push for MPs pay to be linked directly to the top of the basic scale for primary and secondary teachers with degrees. This is currently $66,327 per year. According to Ms Murray, this link has some historical significance as senior teachers and MPs wages were the same in 1979. Since then MPs pay increases have effectively doubled. The Alliance would also push for the removal of all ex MPs travel subsidies and review the MPs superannuation scheme so that employer contributions are reduced to the level of the former Government Superannuation fund.

However Ms Murray adds "There are undoubtedly some additional costs to being an MP. MPs are required to live and work away from home on a regular basis. We believe that where exceptional costs are identified then MPs should be fully reimbursed. We would also like to see working conditions for MPs improved so they are able to spend more time with their families.

ENDS

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