Key announces MP pay cut – public sector unions pucker up

A move to rein in politicians’ pay doesn’t give moral authority to the Government in upcoming pay negotiations, public sector representatives say.

Prime Minister John Key will use urgent legislation to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act as a result of anger at the size of MPs’ pay increases.

MPs’ pay will now be pegged to the average public sector pay increase for the previous year.

That means the latest pay rise will now be between 1 and 2 per cent – with the Government taking more advice before revealing the exact amount.

Richard Wagstaff, the Public Service Association national secretary, said 40,000 members in bargaining this year earn a lot less than those in Parliament.

“I think it is a political distraction what the PM says … now they think they have the moral authority to tell everyone else, no matter how badly paid, they don’t deserve a pay rise.”

PPTA president Angela Roberts said teachers’ pay had not kept pace with inflation.

“[MPs] have basically kept up with inflation, and what they’re saying is they’d like to keep up. We have a hefty catch-up before we can go into the future with a keep-up [pay-rise].”

Last Thursday the Remuneration Authority announced MPs’ pay would increase by 5.5 per cent – which translated to an $8200 pay rise for backbenchers.

The authority said that once a reduction in the travel entitlement was taken into account pay packages would increase by 3.5 per cent.

Mr Key said legislation would be passed in urgency so that pay increases could be brought down.

I was waiting for this. ?The government shows restraint by not accepting 5% pay rises when inflation is below 1%, and the PSA and PPTA immediately rear up saying they still expect their cushy pay rises.

It may have escaped them that we’re still running deficits, in spite of Bill English’s attempts to squeeze out a crumb sized surplus, and as a country, we need to remain prudent as to where we spend money.

Politicians voting themselves out of a pay rise isn’t just populist, it also sends a clear message that everyone else is expected to do their bit.


– Nicholas Jones, NZ Herald