2 Jul 2010

Greens call for wider review of allowances

11:59 am on 2 July 2010

The Green Party says proposals for major changes to MPs allowances are a good first step but a full independent review is needed.

Parliamentary funding is reviewed every three years, and the latest calls for an end to subsidised international travel and to the practice of MPs claiming public money for rent on premises they own.

An independent body should be made responsible for the allowances, the report says, rather than permitting MPs to determine them.

It recommends MPs' base pay be increased by $9,600, the amount of the average travel subsidy.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the proposals are not comprehensive as the review doesn't deal with what happens at ministerial level, nor has the process so far allowed the public to have a say.

Former Labour MP Stan Rodger says a review committee in 2002 of which he was a member came up with similar recommendations to this week's review.

The proposals got to Parliament in the form of a bill but advanced no further, he says, but politicians may now be prepared to be more flexible as there's greater sensitivity about the issue.

Neither Prime Minister John Key nor Labour Party leader Phil Goff is commenting on the report.

Most parties are waiting to discuss the review caucus before responding, which Labour MP Steve Chadwick says in her party's case will not be for two weeks, until after the Parliamentary recess.