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Key folds on pay rises

Written By: - Date published: 4:41 pm, March 2nd, 2015 - 82 comments
Categories: Parliament, wages - Tags: ,

It has been an annual ritual, Key reluctantly claiming that he can’t do anything about MP’s pay rises (which significantly outpace those of most other workers). It was never true of course:

This year, with times harder than ever for far too many Kiwis, the scrutiny that the proposed pay rise received was intense:

Key must be feeling the pressure of this, and other recent events, because he has gone populist. Vernon Small and others are covering events on Twitter.

Interesting.

82 comments on “Key folds on pay rises”

  1. Anne 1

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11410456

    Massive negative reaction from their own supporters? Phone calls, emails and text messages to Nat MPs go into meltdown?

    I was in the local chemist earlier today and the anger displayed from shoppers/clients and staff alike was telling.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “Given that they’re already contemplating a clawback, urgency seems unnecessary”

    Which is pretty stupid on the face of it. The accounting and payroll system will be calculating the backpay, and gearing up for whenever the next pay round is. Who knows when that happens, but it’s probably monthly. Could be the 20th of the month.

    Makes sense to pass legislation under urgency to freeze this, than it does to let it go forward and then have to either organise for the MPs to pay the money back, or dock it from future pay etc.

    Could it be dealt with without legislation? Possibly, but the pay-rise was set by the independent Remuneration Authority, so that might be a little dicey for admin staff to say “we aren’t doing that ’cause John Key told us not to”.

  3. Ed 3

    Key claims to have written to the Authority to ask for a zero increase (well knowing of course that it could not have any effect). If he was honest that is what he would put forward now, so that there could be more time to establish a new basis. It would be easy for accounting systems to process a zero increase for a month or so!

    National know that the reason the increase was high is because it reflects the reality that higher earners have been getting higher increases – National prefers to only talk averages and pretend inequality is not growing. In proposing using the average increase for the public sector (why not the whole country?), they must know that this will be an increase at a higher percentage than the majority of New Zealanders. I hope there is debate about using the median earnings of whatever group is chosen – only by moving earnings for all New Zealanders will the median move; dividing the pool with an increasing share to the wealthy would leave out MPs!

    In the long term the pay for MPs and Ministers does need to be at a level that does not exclude too many people – or be a windfall gain for too many. – a review every say 5 years would be reasonable.

  4. infused 4

    Halarious. Everyone saying Key wont do anything. Does something and everyone shits on it.

    • Murray Rawshark 4.1

      Is halarious something that Muslims find funny? Halal humour?

      Key is obviously panicking because of some poll his pet penguin has done. He knew the criteria the authority had to use, and knew his letter could have no effect. He’s finding out that Kiwis are not believing him any more. Happens to every con artist, but they usually have the good sense to move on and look for new marks.

      • Clemgeopin 4.1.1

        “He’s finding out that Kiwis are not believing him any more’

        Not all Kiwis, but you are correct. Many are.

        I think a good chunk of Kiwis who have been voting Key and National seem Little by Little to be slowly becoming aware of the lies, dishonesty, dodgy goings on, spin and bull shit that is being peddled by Key, National and its very expensive local and foreign based PR machine that has been trying very hard over the last seven years to pull lots of soft silky wool over our collective eyes.

        But, as sure as the day follows the night, they can not fool most of the people all of the time.

    • McFlock 4.2

      does something after claiming he couldn’t do anything. Yeah, pretty funny.

    • Skinny 4.3

      Umm No Infused, this 5 year old back flip shows that internal pollings by the snake oil merchants within the National Party are absolutely panicked by third term blues.

      What happened to the statement by finance minister that workers have weathered the effects of the gobal financial crisis and can now expect sizeable pay increases?

      I’m afraid 1.2 % does not cut it for public and state sector workers. Surely you free market merchants prescrbe to market rates. So 5% is a fair call and its the others that have been left behind in the National Governments ‘Rockstar economy’.

      It is obviously clear the billions of dollars of debit we are in are now coming home to roost. This is not about reasonable pay rises for MP’s (chump change) but screwing every other New Zealand worker below CEO’s and executives. While Key is trimming the fat where is the same under urgency slashing of public and state sector executives payrises?

      Some people laugh when their nervous, are you nervous cobbah?

      • Sacha 4.3.1

        “What happened to the statement by finance minister that workers have weathered the effects of the gobal financial crisis and can now expect sizeable pay increases?”

        Link? I’ve only seen him say workers should restrain themselves indefinitely while dividends for owners flourish unabated.

        • Skinny 4.3.1.1

          Google it I read it on stuff last year and he did say the same on RNZ.

          • Ben Clark 4.3.1.1.1

            It was just before the election to tell voters – don’t worry, the good times are around the corner!

            • Skinny 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Yes Ben I hope this is rubbed into Key’s smug face during question time. Rather than people bemoaning the 5℅ rise the issue should be where are the
              Workers reasonable (5%) all things considered rise. Flip the issue around to Nationals hand picked CEO’s and public servants, actually include Bolger & Shipley and their ilk ( yeah Cullen etc too) who are put on board of directors with plumb earning numbers.

        • Tracey 4.3.1.2

          I agree with Skinny, he (English) absolutely said it was time for businesses to look at giving workers pay rises (it was when he was trumpeting the rock star economy).

          a quick google showed this

          “Bill English repeated his call for employers to reward workers with more substantial pay increases. He says people have had a tough time since the global financial crisis but now the economy is recovering workers should benefit from that.” RNZ

          • Skinny 4.3.1.2.1

            Thanks Tracy for finding that statement.

            Of course when I heard Key was calling a press conference to outline his popularity contest, I knew the idiot media shrills would choose to ignore this fact, instead choosing to heap praise on Key’s strong leadership decision. A decision made by the spin/damage control department in the snake oil manufacturing office of the National party.

      • Clemgeopin 4.3.2

        +1

        Give the low paid the living wage. Cut all CEO’s pays by half under URGENCY to start with. The fat cats will NOT starve, I can assure you. Peg all the TOP pays to not more than 10 times (TEN TIMES) the median wage.

        The median income from wages and salaries across ALL jobs in June 2014 was about $45,000 a year (or $865 a week) before tax, according to a Statistics New Zealand income survey.

        So, legislate to make the TOP salary in any paid job ANY WHERE should NOT be over $45,000×10=$450,000 per year.

        Change the STAGGERED TOP income tax rate to 39% above 5 times the medium income, ie, on the portion that is above $ 225,000.

        What is UNFAIR about that? You tell me!

        • Macro 4.3.2.1

          yep! I’ve been thinking along the same lines – but added to that would be a non tax bracket up to the minimum wage. and then progressively increase so that hitting over $450,000 would be 100% taxed.
          The problem is there would be all sorts of dodges to avoid the super-tax. These people aren’t known for their citizenship.
          The other problem is international corporates who ship profits made in NZ overseas and declare minuscule profits. That nonsense has to be stopped immediately. Either they pay the taxes earned on profits in NZ or they don’t trade here. Yes Apple is one of the worst offenders in this regard – and I would miss my mac, but corporates have to learn to be responsible members of society just like everyone else.

          • Clemgeopin 4.3.2.1.1

            +1
            Fair Comment, though the rich privileged bastards may not like that.

          • Colonial Rawshark 4.3.2.1.2

            Setting all income tax thresholds at a multiple of the median wage is a great idea. As is an income tax free zone – which could be co-ordinated with a UBI.

            I would go with the standard the US set in the 1950s and 1960s, setting the top tax rate at 89% or 91%. This avoids the prospect of the government applying pure wealth confiscation and for people paid millions of dollars a year, prevents their income tax from closing in on 100%.

            People who structure at least some of their income to be received from overseas – and a lot of people at the top end do this – would need to be discouraged from doing so in future, or taxed using an alternative regime.

            The real issue is that a focus on higher top rate income tax is quite deficient and continues to hit workers (albeit the top 1%), but totally misses those true capitalists living off a massive amount of financial asset wealth. This is the real issue. The IRD already knows that hundreds of NZs richest people report less than $70K pa of income.

            That’s where things like an FTT and a wealth tax become relevant.

            BTW let’s just remember that the government does not need taxes to fund its spending. Taxes are best used to channel activities and behaviour in ways required by a country to progress the nation and its society.

            and I would miss my mac, but corporates have to learn to be responsible members of society just like everyone else.

            This is just the kind of thing that the TPPA’s investor/state dispute resolution i.e. corporatocracy sovereignty clauses is designed to stop in its tracks.

    • Ed 4.4

      Key made a request, in writing, that the rise be zero. Now he plans to put through an increase that is higher than he claims he wanted. When he knew it would have no effect he cynically spun a story that he has been caught out on – the reality is that the National MPs want a bigger increase than most New Zealanders got.

      Pushing it though under urgency is also typically arrogant – they can easily delay any increase while the basis is reviewed. Instead they will try to limit the time to reduce embarassment as much as possible.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.5

      Claims he can’t do anything for years despite having changed the rules once which ensured just as much, if not a greater, pay rise for MPs and then suddenly finds that he can do something urgently?

      Yeah, see, that’s called manipulation and you fell for it.

    • Clemgeopin 4.6

      Here is a thought for you to think about:

      If KEY was not a multi-million dollar rich dude, for whom a few thousand dollar pay increase wouldn’t really make much of a difference to his living or to his blind trusts, do you honestly think he would have wanted to do this and in such unusual urgency? I think he is just trying to earn some brownie points because of his often beige behaviour and bad policies and bad internal polling. He had seven years to do this. Why now? Has he suddenly become a non hypocritical catholic saint or has he gutlessly panicked? What do you HONESTLY think? Tell us.

    • Tracey 4.7

      He hasnt actually done anything about it yet infused. He has been saying he will for about 5 years though. Lets wait and see…

      As for enshrining something for 50 years… he really does not yet quite understand democracy.

  5. Colonial Rawshark 5

    An interesting back down from Key, you are right about that, and also to wonder where the real pressure points were.

  6. Karen 6

    Obviously Farrar’s polling was showing a drop in popularity for Key, and the pay rise for MPs was one of the reasons.
    Key must be desperate for something to lift his ratings before the next public poll.

  7. I’m gonna reserve judgement till I read the legislation.

    There’ll be some dodge in there for sure – otherwise, why urgency?

    Or, it’ll be a poorly written piece that contains an unintended conseqence which bites them in a few months.

  8. Jay 8

    The increase in pay set by the remuneration authority (who are independent of politicians) was an outrage. John Key said so straight away, and now he’s doing something about it.

    Why does this even piss people off? It demonstrates that no matter what John Key does, some people will either oppose his actions, his motivation, or both.

    In my view people have allowed their hatred of John Key to cloud their judgement to the point that everything he does or says is bad, and it’s actually getting a bit ridiculous.

    This isn’t election year. Keys popularity is as universal as ever. The next election won’t turn on this issue. He spoke out against this pay rise since the beginning, and is now looking to reverse it. Could it be that he believes that it’s just plain wrong?

    Doesn’t putting negative spin on this just expose the extreme bias of many commentators? Doesn’t it make them look a bit foolish? Wouldn’t it improve their credibility if they simply said, “good on you John Key for doing the right thing, we agree with what you’ve done”.

    But those words would just stick in the craw though right?

    • Anne 8.1

      John Key has been saying much the same thing after each MP pay rise for the past 5 years. Yet he never did anything about it. And the only reason he’s doing something now is because internal polling has shown a huge and exasperated backlash against the government and no doubt their phones/emails have been running hot.

      In my view you have allowed your besotted admiration for John Key to cloud your judgement to the point you can’t see the reality of his, and his government’s, cynical manipulation of the political system, exclusively for their own benefit, and regardless of the damage it does to the populace as a whole.

      • Economix 8.1.1

        And Labour/Greens etc have done what about this whilst in opposition? Let’s not kid ourselves that for years there has been a feeding frenzy at the bottomless trough that is the politicians payroll. Hundreds of politicians right across the political spectrum have dropped the odd line into the press that they are uncomfortable with this and haven’t done anything about it. Good to see them being brought back into the real world on this one issue. Plenty more issues that they still have their heads so far up….but that is for another thread.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1

          What a great way to demonstrate your ignorance: the National Party changed the rules.

          This is their doing. Now reject the facts and cling to your false beliefs like a frightened infant.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2

      John Key was PM when the National Party changed the rules. He’s a hypocrite for pretending it was out of his hands, and you’re ignorant at best and dishonest at worst, and either way you’re his good little dupe.

      John Key was PM when the National Party changed the rules. Get out of that one, dupe.

    • infused 8.3

      Well you now know why the left gain no traction.

    • Atiawa 8.4

      Its concerning when the “Jay’s” of the world attempt to defend their esteemed leader without acknowledging the hypocrisy of his decision making, and then accuse the dissenters of foolishness and bias.
      It seems that the old adage of ” my minds made up, don’t baffle me with the facts” remains the preserve of the disciples of ignorance.

    • Clemgeopin 8.5

      You are mentioning the word, ‘spin’ but you are spinning exactly like Joyce and C Textor!

      I’ll tell you what you want me to say:

      It is the poor, the low waged and ordinary people that ALWAYS get screwed no matter what. It is the common people that get sucked in and vote you bastards in anyway.

      Try thinking of them FIRST before you think of the wealthy, the CEOs, the banks, the landlords, the corporates or the capitalist crooks.

    • Tracey 8.6

      this was a party political broadcast on behalf of the Rose Tinted Glasses Society

  9. kiwigunner 9

    Teachers and nurses have got almost nothing in the last five years (except a whole lot of crap policy). Whilst I applaud this announcement – there is catching up to do. They should not be expecting 1-2% in their negotiations this year. Indeed the money saved today should be shunted straight to them and health and care workers too – those minimum wage angels who this govt has taken to the appeal court.

  10. Michael 10

    No doubt the National party’s slush funds will make up the difference between what they get from taxpayers and what they expect to get in total. A bit rough on the other pollies, who don’t have party slush funds at their disposal, though. I expect we’ll see National Party MPs outclassing all the others before long.

  11. It would have been nice if Labour MPs contacted for comment had highlighted the fact that the big pay increase was because the RA was tasked with maintaining relativity between MP’s pay and that of other high earners, and that workers might usefully bear that rate of increase for high earners in mind when considering the minimal or nonexistent pay increases those high earners offer their workers.

  12. Sable 12

    The system of government we have in this country is a failure. Its a crappy Brit based system that lets governments do as they like. We need to revise how we govern and apply independent watchdogs to ensure these political parasites do as they are told not as they like.

    As to Keys antics, in my opinion he’s just trying to take the sting out of his US toadying efforts to send our people to Iraq. Nice try but no cigar, asshole.

  13. mary_a 13

    Has Key picked up on a revolutionary groundswell of discontent amongst the masses?

  14. fisiani 14

    So as usual another pathetic attempted diatribe against Honest John. The misleading title Key Folds on Pay Rises starts the rot. What part of firm decisive action is folding? John Key spent years as a market trader and has a keener sense of public mood than perhaps any other politician. He is not rooted to any position no matter what happens. He is always ready to take the right move. Already the morning tea talk I hear is all complimentary about John Key taking the correct action and laying down the law. His direction is popular.
    Desperately trying to spin this as John Key folding is certainly good for a laugh but everyone knows that Honest John is doing the right thing and their estimation of him is surely enhanced.

    • Sable 14.1

      Its amazing you can support this creature after everything he has done. Back to the MSM with you. Its where you belong.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.2

      There is probably no one left on the planet who does not know him as a statesman and as a remarkable popular leader. Only a few, however, have the pleasure of seeing him as a man each day from close up, to experience him, and as I might add, to come as a result to a deeper understanding and love for him. These few wonder how it is possible that a man who only three years ago was opposed by half of the nation stands today above any doubt and every criticism.

      Comical Fisiani jumps the shark.

    • Skinny 14.3

      Enjoy your ‘tea break’ fisiani dishonest Johns petty removal of workers tea break becomes law this week. You might be forced to shuffle paper all day long.

      • fisiani 14.3.1

        There is no removal of tea breaks and you already know that. Why repeat such a ridiculous canard? You and I and every poster here will have a tea break next week and next month and next year. john Key has once again taken the wind out of opposition sails with his decisive action. No wonder he is set for as many terms as he wants till he chooses to retire. No opposition leader comes close to him. We are watching a political phenomenon which is only half way through.

        • crashcart 14.3.1.1

          Just to be clear Fisi you think all employers are good people who only want the best for their employee’s and that there will not be any cases of abuse of the law change?

          I am sure most are because they would rather keep their emplyee’s around. I know I will still have my break period. However if all you are doing is using low wage workers for maximum profit then that is not a concern as there are thousands more waiting in line to work like dogs so they can feed themselves and their families.

        • Clemgeopin 14.3.1.2

          Hey, fisiani,

          You being such a devoted supporter of the corporates, employers, Key, National, ACT and shit, I want to know what is your opinion about the Zero hour contracts?

    • thatguynz 14.4

      And Fizzyanus screws the pooch yet again.. 🙄

    • framu 14.5

      what part of “moaned about it for 5 years then acted once polling went against him = decisive action”?

      the only desperate one here is you fisti – desperately sitting by the phone hoping john will ask you out

    • Clemgeopin 14.6

      “Comical Fisiani jumps the shark’

      You just reminded me of Comical Ali! Wonder what he is up to now?

      • McFlock 14.6.1

        Apparently terminally ill in the UAE

        • Clemgeopin 14.6.1.1

          Thanks for that. Poor guy. He was quite a lovable rogue, a little like our oen dear fisiani in some ways.

          Replace Ali with fisiani and make other appropriate changes such as Key, National party etc in the write up from your link:

          Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (Arabic: محمد سعيد الصحاف‎ Muḥammad Saʿīd Al-Ṣaḥḥāf; born 1940) was the Iraqi Information Minister under Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, acting as the spokesperson for the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party and Saddam’s regime.

          He is best known for his grandiose and grossly unrealistic propaganda broadcasts extolling the invincibility and the permanence of Saddam’s popular lie-straight-then-smile-and-wave, rule. His announcements were intended for an Iraqi domestic audience subject to Saddam’s cult of personality and state control of well greased MSM but were met with widespread growing derision, amusement and distrust by others with access to better information from other reliable sources, intelligent commentators and serious leaks from whistle blowers of integrity from the inside.

          In the US he was popularly known as Lapdog Johnny, in the UK as Silly-Walk-Ali, in Italy as Alì-il-Comico and in some quarters of New Zealand, as the Piss-Take-Ali.

  15. Ray 15

    So Sable
    Who appoints these Independent watch dogs?
    The Party?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      Is that the only solution you can imagine? Go on, try a little harder. See if you can suggest a better idea than your first attempt.

  16. Planet Earth 16

    So – John Key introducing legislation to limit MPs’ pay rises – good thing or bad thing?

    So – John Key introducing legislation to limit MPs’ pay rises – good thing or bad thing?

    (Sorry, terrible echo in here)

    • Enough is Enough 16.1

      Bad Thing

      He is a cynical arrogant out of touch rich bastard that is only doing this because Crosby textor told him.

      • Planet Earth 16.1.1

        So he’s doing a good thing with bad motives? Or he’s doing a bad thing?

    • crashcart 16.2

      It’s a good thing as long as it is done correctly. I don’t think anyone has argued anything different. What is synical is bemoaning pay rises for years saying you can do nothing to change the rules and it is out of your control when:

      1) You set those rules in the first place, and
      2) You decide you can just up and change the rules under urgency when it becomes apparent no one is buying that bull shit any more.

      **edit** OK people are saying it is a bad thing. That I don’t get. Yes hammer him on being synical but don’t cut off your nose to spite your face by saying actally changing things is bad.

      • Economix 16.2.1

        “I don’t think anyone has argued anything different”

        You would hope not, however when you wear glasses so deeply tinted with any colour other than blue it becomes difficult to see the obvious until it smacks you right in the face.

    • Economix 16.3

      Great question PE, and looking forward to the responses.

      Obviously a good thing. But handled in a way so typical of politicians i.e. everything is done for political point scoring.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 16.3.1

        Why do you think this will be a “good thing” when the National Party failed so badly last time they had a chance?

        All the evidence tells us it’ll be yet another clusterfuck, because that’s all you’re good for.

        • Economix 16.3.1.1

          You don’t think that aligning politicians pay increases to that received by the rest of the public sector is a good thing? My preference would be for politicians pay to only be reassessed every 3 years following general elections. If voter turnout declines then all politicians should have their salaries cut.

          “because that’s all you’re good for”…who me? I’m not part of the Nat Party. Moron.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 16.3.1.1.1

            If it keeps public sector wages artificially low then yes, bad thing. I say link it to the median wage.

            I was talking about right wingers in general: the shit you believe renders you incompetent.

            Take your favoured proposal, for example. Dirty politics is all about lowering voter turn-out: National Party MPs will be accepting directorship bribes (as detailed by Loose Lips Lusk) whether or not their salary decreases.

            • Economix 16.3.1.1.1.1

              “public sector wages artificially low”…you are kidding right? Not many people in the public sector earning less than median wage OAB.

              OAB you really need to stop lecturing people about what to think/believe, it is becoming tiresome.

              Well, you validate my point. Nat politicians would be receiving a pay cut.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                🙄

                That’s so bad it’s not even wrong.

                I’ll see if I can find a way to explain it that you can grasp.

                Once upon a time, there was a public sector employee, and they were admired by all (except rabid Objectivists) and well paid as a result.

                Then along came an incompetent Tory, for whom no-one had any respect whatsoever, and linked their wage increases. That put downward pressure on the well-respected public sector employee’s wages, which made it harder to retain good staff.

                Soon, the public sector was full of incompetent Tories, taking bribes, missing performance targets, embezzling, and hiring prostitutes.

            • Planet Earth 16.3.1.1.1.2

              How would aligning MPs’ salaries to public sector wages keep the latter “artificially low”?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Because nurses (for example) get respect and Tory politicians don’t. This proposal makes it harder to give nurses decent payrises.

                • Planet Earth

                  How so?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Can’t you work it out on your own?

                    Imagine the public response to that rotten gimp Patrick Gower squealing that MPs get 3% payrise, because he thinks his opinions have value.

                    Then imagine the complete lack of any Patrick Gower-inspired gobshite regarding nurses’ pay increases.

                    Penny, meet drop?

                    • Planet Earth

                      Non sequitur

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      A direct connection, in fact. That’s the proposal – link MPs pay rises to public servants’.

                      It’s nice that you’ve learnt a new Latin phrase: the next step is to use it appropriately and in context.

                    • Planet Earth

                      OAB – reply to your comment of 7.55 am today (reply function no go) – you are correct, “That’s the proposal – link MPs pay rises to public servants’.” Not the other way around – you should worry more about your English comprehension than your Latin.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      🙄

                      Yes, Patrick Gower and Bloke From The Pub are sure to make that distinction when MPs get a payrise /sarc

                      Why didn’t I realise that before? All hail Utopia.

  17. Ray 17

    I would have thought having an election every three years would be the easiest way to have some oversight
    But it was Sable who is suggesting some other way of having watchdogs
    Just wondering how they were to be appointed and by whom

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      …and “by the party” was the best you could manage.

      Your proposal* to scrap the ombudsman and human rights commissioner etc, did you think it through or are you just typing any old contrary random shite?

      *elections as the only form of oversight.

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