A law passed under urgency to allow the Remuneration Authority to cut local and central politicians’ pay is toothless, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “This was a chance to fix a glaring flaw in the Remuneration Authority Act: the Authority is barred from reducing anyone’s pay. Yet the legislation passed today only will only give the Authority this power temporarily. Does the Government seriously believe COVID-19 will be New Zealand’s last economic contraction?”
“Further, the highly-paid judiciary are exempt from even temporary pay cuts.”
"At the very least, a one line change could have let employees whose remuneration is set by the Authority waive parts of their entitlement. Instead the law remains that they can’t! It’s ridiculous, and completely out of line with the private sector."
“And incredibly, as David Seymour has pointed out, MPs can avoid pay cuts by claiming special circumstances, with no way for taxpayers to find out which MPs do this.”
“And regardless of these problems, even temporary pay cuts will still be at the discretion of the Remuneration Authority – the same authority that for years has hiked politicians’ pay beyond the level of inflation and beyond what is acceptable to the public. What happens if the Authority refuses to make cuts in line with the sacrifices of the private sector?”
“This law was passed under urgency, without a first or second reading, or any debate on amendments.”
“The Prime Minister made an internationally-lauded announcement, only to wait a month before delivering a toothless imitation of her original promise. For her to get away with this would be a disgrace.”