Jacinda Ardern has announced a freeze of MP’s salaries while a review of the salary setting system is carried out.
This is a good decision and smart politics. No Government ever was hurt by deciding not to increase MP’s salaries.
From the Herald:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced plans to freeze the salaries of MPs while a review of the pay-setting system is carried out.
MPs’ pay rises are decided independently by the Remuneration Authority.
The announcement came at today’s weekly press conference.
The latest pay rise, of 3 per cent, was due to kick in later this month and be backdated to July 1 but Parliament will pass a bill under urgency to freeze the current pay for a year.
Ardern said it is not appropriate for MPs to be subject to such an increase.
Cabinet had been advised of the impending 3 per cent pay increase which was based on a formula under law, and involved no discretion.
She said she had contacted National leader Simon Bridges and was supportive of the decision to freeze and review pay setting.
There was “complete understanding”.
“It is about values. We are focused on raising the income on lower to middle income earners,” she said.
One of the strongest examples of how bad teachers’ salaries have become is by comparing this to what they received a couple of decades ago. Bryan Bruce has the details:
Backbench MPs are about to earn $163,961 a year. The top of the pay scale for teachers is $78,000.
If we turn the pay clock back to 1979, Backbenchers and experienced teachers earned roughly the same amount ($18,000 a year) Now the basic MP’s salary is more than twice as much as what a senior teacher earns.
Auckland schools are desperate for teachers but, even as she was preparing to leave parliament, former Education Minister Hekia Parata was quoted last March as saying :
“Teachers, like other Aucklanders – police, nurses, bus drivers – are facing the same pressures. And I don’t think one group over another should get some kind of different funding” (Herald March 19,2017)
Apparently, however, it is OK for the particular group to which she once belonged (MPs) to get “some kind of different funding, ” …the ongoing perks of which she will enjoy for many years to come.
This is what neoliberal economics has done to us folks – lowered wages while allowing house and food prices to rise. And those who have championed this kind of unfair economic policy in parliament for the last 30 years have feathered their own nests in the process.
Did we vote for a fairer government this time?
Who would know?
We are in limbo.
Perhaps if pay cuts for MPs and more money for caregivers, teachers, nurses,mental health workers ( for example ) was on the negotiating table I’d feel more hopeful.
It will be interesting to see if any MP complains. And to see what effect the new system has.