Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > Why the Remuneration Authority just doesn’t get it

Why the Remuneration Authority just doesn’t get it

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PUT-THE-POLITICIANS-ON-MINIMUM-WAGE-AND-WATCH-HOW-FAST-THINGS-CHANGE

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When you read media stories like this, you know that Alice has company in Wonderland,

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MPs pay rise less than other workers - authority

Full story

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(Or is it La La Land?!)

When Remuneration Authority, chief executive John Errington says,

Since fiscal year 2009 general salaries and wages have increased by 5.6 per cent and the Consumers Price Index has increased by 8 per cent. Parliamentary salaries . . . have increased by only 2.9 per cent. This still leaves members of Parliament receiving lower remuneration increases than the general population.

See: IBID

For the record, the increases mean the following,

$419,300 Prime Minister ($7790 increase)
$297,400 Deputy PM ($5600)
$262,700 Crown ministers, the Speaker, Leader of the Opposition ($4900)
$158,700 Party leader base salary ($3000)
$144,600 Backbench MPs ($2800)
$52,676 average NZ wage

See: Christmas rise gives PM $3900 backpay, $150 more a week

On top of which, the increases,

  •  are back-dated to 1 July 2012
  •  exclude a $2,000 increase in 2011, and a $5,000 increase in 2011, to “compensate MPs for the loss of their international travel perk and a significant drop in their domestic travel bill”
  • exclude a $24,000 a year subsidy toward their rent/accommodation in Wellington
  • exclude $16,100 a year for expenses such as new luggage, flowers, gifts, memberships, and meals.

Nice work if you can get it.

Meanwhile, back in the Real World,

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Resthome spy hails saint-like workers

Full story

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When the Prime Minister, our very own Dear Leader, John Key was presented with the situation of rest home workers being paid an apalling figure of around $14.61 an hour, his response was,

“Travel is one of those areas where we are looking at what we can do,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme.

However, the Government could not afford to give DHBs the $140 million required to enable rest homes to pay their staff more.

It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash. As the country moves back to surplus it’s one of the areas we can look at but I think most people would accept this isn’t the time we have lots of extra cash.

“You could certainly change the proportion of where you spend money in health. We spend about $14.5 billion in the overall health sector.

“What’s going to go to pay the increase in this area? If you said all of the increase is going to go into this area, that would be roughly $600m over the forecast period which is four years… So that would have left us $1bn for other things.

“We put the money into cancer care and nursing and various other things. On balance, we think we got that about right.”

See: PM: No money for aged care workers

Interesting that there is plenty of tax-money for subsidising businesses; rugby world cup tournaments; politician’s salaries and perks – but when it comes to the lowest paid, hardest working, people in our society  – Key’s response is; ” It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash “.

Yup. It’s La La Land.

Here’s a thought; why not link the minimum wage to that of Members of Parliament?

So when politicians get a pay increase – so do those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

In fact, let’s make it a point that any increase also applies to those earning minimum wages receiving similar perks to politicians; eg; travel and food subsidies, in the form of   weekly vouchers for petrol, food, and electricity.

The lowest paid people in our society might actually start looking forward to salary and perks increases for our MPs and Ministers. And MPs would have a whole new fanclub.

What are the chances?

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Previous related blogposts

Roads, grandma, and John Key

John Key’s track record on raising wages – 4. Rest Home Workers

Aged Care: The Price of Compassion

References

Fairfax media: Resthome spy hails saint-like workers

Fairfax media: PM: No money for aged care workers

Fairfax media: MPs pay rise less than other workers – authority

NZ Herald: Christmas rise gives PM $3900 backpay, $150 more a week

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  1. Alison W
    27 December 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Yep, we witness the same ole, ‘if we had the cash’, excuse all too often, while we see it conveniently pop up when private interests need serving. Austerity never looks more blatant, than during the peak of a depression.

  2. Leonard Bloksberg
    27 December 2012 at 1:36 pm

    The John Key govt has racked up more debt in NZ than all previous govts combined; more than both world wars, more than the great depression, more than the Wellington & Napier earthquakes combined. Somehow they have done this while cutting every service; police, transport, education, health, social welfare, everything, and also increasing taxes! Where has the money gone? Apparently, John Key has been handing out subsidies (dare I call them bribes for support) to selected large businesses and cronies.

  3. Leonard Bloksberg
    27 December 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Just out of curiosity, is anyone aware of any independent statistic or measure which makes the John Key govt look good, or at least anything other than an abject failure and a disaster for NZ?

    • 27 December 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Nothing that I know of, Leonard. Maybe Statistics NZ? Independent “Think Tanks”?

      I’m in the process of completing a blogpost comparing the last four years of Nats’ performance, and hope to finish it in a day or so…

      • Leonard Bloksberg
        27 December 2012 at 2:44 pm

        FYI, I liked both Shipley and Clarke. I am party agnostic and performance driven. My concern with Key has nothing to do with party and everything to do with his performance (and that of his team).

  4. Matthew Hatton
    27 December 2012 at 1:47 pm

    i concur & have been saying that for ages… link MP’s pay to a rise in the minimum wage

  5. Jennifer M
    27 December 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Then we would see the minimum wage 4 fold!!

  6. Budinski
    27 December 2012 at 2:39 pm

    $150 /week raise? Who the hell gets that kind of raise for completely failing at their job? Oh yeah that’s right….a banker.

  7. 27 December 2012 at 3:06 pm

    John Key not a banker thats the problem.

    An actual banker would probably do a better job.

    But i agree something has to be done about wages at the bottem and benefits need to increase to a realistic level.

    • 27 December 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Indeed, Geoff. Unfortunately, going by Key’s latrest shenanigans (radio stations, mock gay weddings, etc), he seems to have lost all interest.

      We will need to wait for a change in government before action takes place.

    • 27 December 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Yes — as Samuel L Jackson would say, “Exactamundo!”

      JK is a broker: he sets up a deal, then exits after the setup. Usually with money made. Cue raid on NZ dollar. Some people have argued with me that he’s the “best we have because he understands business, he’s a businessman after all….

      He is nothing to do with being a business guy – real business people set up long term objectives, invest where it is prudent to see a long term gain, not short term profits at the expense of other things, and carefully assesses the real cost-benefit ratio…

      JK is an unmitigated disaster, and I am flabbergasted at times at the stunning, stunning naivity of some of my fellow citizens when they make a judgement on his performance. Even objectively, taking out the National vs Labour, ie. doing away with party lines, and just taking it objectively, it’s a stunning indictment and a textbook example of mismanagement in extremis.

      Almost every single indicator one thinks of, JK and his regime have not only failed, they’ve dropped the bar to a whole new low….

      Frank: I’m looking forward to your comparison installement — I’ve been compiling mini-summaries myself to distribute to those I know, it’s hard to make them read it sometimes, but one has to try ones damndest as I’ve always believed education is the key to scrubbing completely the teflon coating that he seems to have…

  8. 27 December 2012 at 3:21 pm

    FYI, I liked both Shipley and Clarke. I am party agnostic and performance driven. My concern with Key has nothing to do with party and everything to do with his performance (and that of his team).

    Strange as it may sound, Leonard – that makes 100% sense to me (a committed leftie)…

  9. Clive @ large
    28 December 2012 at 10:41 am

    I’m never surprised by Key’s breathtaking hypocrisy and double standards. It’s in his DNA, so to speak.

    What does constantly blow me away is how the public seem to accept this liar without blinking.

  10. Jasper
    28 December 2012 at 12:37 pm

    NZ taxpayer = Cash Cow!

  11. Mooloo Magic
    1 January 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Like the other comments I’m absolutely staggered by the fact Kiwis seem to buy into Key’s spin, he and his government have made an absolute mess of the economy but he remain so popular despite his government being an unmitigated failure. Seems we prefer our Prime Minster to perform Gangman dances, mock gay weddings on breakfast radio then the serious business of being effective management of this country.
    The man is a disgrace and an embarrassment but we who think that are in the minority his popularity shows how disengaged Kiwis have become towards

    • Vagabundo
      9 January 2013 at 10:42 am

      I honestly think that there is a major overestimation of the popularity of John Key within the NZ public and that your sentiment expressed in the second paragraph of your post is a far more commonly held view than it seems initially apparent. What I didn’t expect to see was a columnist in the business section of the Herald taking Key to task over his stance on broadband prices the other day and the MSM has been getting increasingly hostile towards Key bit by bit, crappy sycophantic articles like Toby Manhire’s garbage opinion piece a while ago or Fran O’Sullivan’s usual work notwithstanding.

      What I think has escaped a lot of observers is the fact that the National Party’s popularity, while seemingly stable, has actually been slowly dipping downwards (as has his preferred PM poll rating*) while the likely centre-left coalition of Labour and Green have been trending upwards. National may yet end up being the single biggest individual party in parliament, but I think their poor management of their coalition partners will end up costing them in 2014. ACT is on life support waiting to be put out of its misery at the end of next year and I doubt the Maori Party will survive long term if they stay in the coalition (and I have a suspicion that as soon as Turia leaves and Sharples inevitably follows, they’ll either latch on to Labour in the aftermath of the 2014 elections or walk away from the current government depending on when the current leadership fully vacates).

      Duncan Garner said a while ago, back when he was with TV3 (during the first half of 2012, IIRC) that the mistakes made by National are the kind that fester and slowly drain away support because people remember the unscrupulous shit they got up to. I think that in this case, he may be proven right.

  12. Procrastinator
    4 January 2013 at 10:26 am

    The audacity of the Remuneration Authority is shocking.

    Now that the MPs have their raise, what would earn my respect is if the MPs on the left would donate their raise to the needy and campaign fervently for fairer wages.

    What are the chances of that one?

    • 7 January 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Good question, Procrastinator…

      Also noted some of your excellent responses on the “Tumeke” blog. *thumbs up*

  13. 23 January 2013 at 9:30 am

    That’s National for you. Pure self-interest.

  1. 19 May 2013 at 3:29 pm

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