9 Mar 2007

Cook Islands NGO says MPs will have to justifiy pay increases

5:07 pm on 9 March 2007

The group for political change in the Cook Islands says parliamentarians will have to increase their work load to justify any salary increases they give themselves.

The group's Elizabeth Ponga has questioned the need for parliament to amend the Remuneration Act regarding MPs salaries.

Parliament this week passed legislation empowering cabinet to give MPs a pay rise without being bound by the independent Remuneration Tribunal.

The Remuneration Tribunal Amendment Bill gives the minister of finance and cabinet the final say in setting MPs' pay packages and has a clause that prevents salaries and allowances from being reduced.

Ms Ponga says the amendment seems to render the Tribunal a waste of time and money after only being in place for a couple of years.

"So if they look at themselves and are going to pay themselves now, then work accordingly, put in the number of hours required so that people can say they are deserved of what they are going to pay themselves."

Elizabeth Ponga