23 Dec 2010

Pay rise, travel compo for MPs

6:35 pm on 23 December 2010

MPs have been given a pay increase of 1.4% and an extra $2,000 as partial reimbursement for their scrapped international travel discount.

The increase matches the average wage rise in New Zealand.

Politicians did not get a pay rise last year after a law change requiring the independent Remuneration Authority to take economic conditions into account in calculating any rise.

The prime minister's salary goes up from $393,000 to $400,500, the leader of the opposition and Cabinet ministers go from $243,700 to $249,100. Backbenchers' pay will go up from $131,000 to $134,800.

The pay increases are backdated to July.

The Speaker of the House recently scrapped MPs' international travel entitlement, which is estimated to cost $9,800 a year for each MP.

The authority says MPs have being using the rebate less and less and the $2,000 payment is in recognition of that change.

It will take examine the longer-term effect of the rebate's removal in the new year, but MPs' pay will not be adjusted as a result.

The pay increases are backdated to the first of July this year.

The Green Party says any increase will never be popular with the public, despite the authority setting MPs' salaries.

It says the independent authority is the proper place for MPs' entitlements to be decided because it is free from political interference.