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Posts Tagged ‘MPs travel expenses’

Why the Remuneration Authority just doesn’t get it

27 December 2012 20 comments

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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

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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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Dominion Post – asking the wrong questions?

10 February 2012 5 comments

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Today’s Dominion Post has highlighted Hone Harawira’s travel costs, incurred from 1 October 2011 to 31 December 2011,

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Full Story

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The article state,

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira topped the list at $54,961, followed by Labour leader Phil Goff with $32,566.” – Ibid

Blah, blah… blah, blah, bah… … … … …blah.

The article then repeats Harawira’s travel expenditure, for good measure – just in case we missed the statement at the beginning, plus the photo with the comment,

TOP DOLLAR: Mana Party leader Hone Harawira topped the list of MP travel expenses during election time.

Obviously, this article is a thinly-disguised attack on Hone.  It’s called  “having a go at someone” since Harawira is an easy target for lazy journos, right wingers, and racists.

Otherwise, Ms Vance has missed the real story relating to the release of  MP’s travel costs, to whit,

Hone Harawira’s travel costs,

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John Key’s travel costs,

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Source: Members’ expense disclosure from 1 October 2011 to 31 December 2011

Hang on a mo’…

$1,710 spent by John Key on all domestic and air travel?!?!

How does that work???

Especially when National MP, Nikki Kaye (immediatly above Key) spent $14,569 and National MP, Colin King (immediatly below Key) spent $20,037?!?!

After all, Key was all over the country in the run-up to the election – especially his little “day excursion” to Epsom, to have a cuppa tea,

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Full Story

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Who paid for Key to travel to Epsom?

And shouldn’t that question be a matter of interest to journalists?  Or is it much easier to simply pluck the highest figure from the list, and repeat it without any context or analysis at all?

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As an aside, Hone Harawira is MP for the Te Tai Tokerau electorate – one of the biggest electorates in the country.

Also, Te Tai Tokorau takes in the general  general electorates of  East Coast Bays, Helensville, North Shore, Northcote, Northland, Rodney, Te Atatū, Whangarei,  part of Waitakere and some  islands located within the Auckland Central electorate.

Harawira is therefore covering an area which, in the General Electorates, is covered by ten MPs.

 

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It would be remarkable if Harawira didn’t incur a larger-than-normal travel bill. His electorate is larger-than-normal.

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