“Massive increase” in MP funding, most for Government MPs

The Speaker has tabled a report in parliament proposing that MPs, especially Government MPs, may be given substantially more funding – like 20% – plus extra staff for Ministers, just two weeks after two weeks ago Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a’nobly prudent’ freeze of MP salaries – MP pay frozen and fairer system for increases developed:

“Today Cabinet agreed to freeze MP Pay till July 2019, and to reassess the funding formula used by the Authority to ensure it is fair and in keeping with this Government’s expectations and values,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern made a big deal about this in some sort of principle of fairness and to close the income gap – “It is about values. We are focused on raising the income on lower to middle income earners”.

NZH: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces salary freeze for MPs

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.

“It is about values. We are focused on raising the income on lower to middle income earners,” she said.

Ardern said the way the draft increase had been determined did not seem fair.

“We do not believe, given that we are at the upper end of the scale, that we should be receiving that sort of increase.

“The current formula isn’t meeting our expectations.

“What we have seen in this determination I believe is out of kilt with those expectations.

“This is about us acknowledging that we are at the top end … and this only extends that gap.”

But the salary gesture pales in comparison to expence increases proposed for MPs, especially list MPs.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog: Massive increase proposed for MPs expenses

The Speaker has tabled a report which proposes a massive massive increase in funding for MPs, almost all of it to benefit Government MPs.

We’ve got the Government turning down a 3% pay rise, which is chicken feed compared to the 20% increase in funding that has been proposed for them.

The details will make your blood boil. They overwhelmingly benefit the Government. The major changes proposed are:

are:

  • List MPs to get the same funding as Electorate MPs. 34 of the 49 List MPs are Government MPs. It is a huge boost for Labour, Greens and NZ First. It is also wrong as Electorate MPs have far greater demands on them. They represent an actual constituency and need extra staff to deal with all the constituent issues. Many List MPs do very little constituency work, and any extra funding will go on advertising and campaigning.
  • Parties won’t lose funding if they lose MPs at an election. At the moment a party gets funded based on their actual number of MPs. Totally sensible. This report proposes a gerrymander where National and Labour get guaranteed 38% of the funding regardless of their number of MPs, and NZ First and Greens get 8% minimum, again regardless of their number of MPs.
  • Also outrageous is it proposes Ministers get extra staff. Ministers already get totally funded for their staffing needs through Ministerial Services. And the number of staff is already 13% higher than the last Government. This report proposes each Minister also get an additional staffer funded through The Parliamentary Service. So a huge boost of 30 more staff for the Government. It also may allow Ministers to avoid the OIA by having one of their staff working for The Parliamentary Service instead of Ministerial Services.
  • And bad enough this $13 million increase in funding for MPs, but they want to have it get even bigger every year. They recommend an automatic 3.3% to 3.7% increase every year, which means Parliament will be the only public sector organisation that doesn’t have to make a business case to justify extra spending.

This proposal is a huge rort designed to massively increase funding for Government MPs.

And it is the Government that effectively decides whether or not to accept the recommendations.

Farrar seems a bit against this, perhaps for good reason. The quoted cost is accurate:

Our recommendations include indicative costs where these are available, and these show that the package of
recommendations will involve a significant investment in the first year to support the lift in performance of our
democracy. Across all of the funding, this represents approximately $13.0 to $13.5 million per year.

$13 million works out at $108,333 per MP, but it sounds like it will go disproportionately to Ministers and list MPs.

That’s a lot more than a 3% salary increase would cost.

It will be interesting to hear what Ardern thinks about this.

 

 

94 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 6, 2018

    Tax and spend is always the Labour mantra. Their altruism always begins at home.

  2. robertguyton

     /  September 6, 2018

    This is good for The Left. National has money to burn, even to the point of running pretend inquiries into their own members leaking behaviours, and claim to champion personal responsibility; let them self-fund and live by their principles. Green, Labour and NZ1st MPs will put all the extra dosh to good use, don’t you worry!

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 6, 2018

      Lefty corruption continues.

      • robertguyton

         /  September 6, 2018

        “Lefty corruption continues…to catch up with Righty corruption”
        Fify

    • artcroft

       /  September 6, 2018

      Agreed! Imagine how many roofs Phillip Taito Field could have retiled at taxpayer expense give the size of the trough Labour/Greens are wanting to create.

      Of course no cares what Ardern or Marama think – You’ll have to get Winnie on the line if you want to know whether this will fly.

    • J Bloggs

       /  September 6, 2018

      Except, Robert, that when the government changes (as it inevitably will at some time), all of that “extra dosh” will then go to National MP’s, not Lab/Green/NZF ones – thereby giving them even more money to play with. Of course, you’ll be perfectly happy with this.

      And imagine if the Greens reached parity in MP’s with Labour – would you still be happy for Labour to have 38% of the funding locked in for them while the Green Party receives 8%?

      Sometimes I wonder if you ever think about the long term implications of some of the stuff you spout (which is surprising as one of the hallmarks of the Greens is being all about the long term effects…)

      • robertguyton

         /  September 6, 2018

        “This report proposes a gerrymander where National and Labour get guaranteed 38% of the funding regardless of their number of MPs.”

        • J Bloggs

           /  September 6, 2018

          I checked the actual report – it’s 38% per major party – i.e. Labour gets 38% and National gets 38%. (I used Labour as the example, as they are the party more likely to bleed votes, and therefore MP’s to the Green Party).

          However, the report does go on to state that parties that get MP’s above the minimum funding levels will be paid the extra money they would be entitled to to under the current formula.

          Which means that even if National drops to 2002 levels (20%) of voter support, they’ll still get funded to the 38% minimum threshold, while all the other parties get funded to the level of MP’s they got in the election.

          Hope this clears things up

    • Pink David

       /  September 6, 2018

      “Green, Labour and NZ1st MPs will put all the extra dosh to good use, don’t you worry!”

      I can use that money far better than any of these people can. Does that then justify me taking it off you?

  3. Blazer

     /  September 6, 2018

    this certainly runs counter to the sentiments Ardern expressed.

    Politicians can’t help themselves…reminds me of the previous Govts belt tightening…brand new BMW’s for ministers.

    • robertguyton

       /  September 6, 2018

      It’ll help the Green Party enormously. They’re not flush with cash and have plenty of innovative programmes to activate; gotta get on with saving the planet and being hampered by lack of cash doesn’t help any of us.

      • So you support the Greens (and NZ First) in particular benefiting from a big increase in expenses?

        Did you support the salary freeze? If so, on what grounds?

        • robertguyton

           /  September 6, 2018

          Political parties shouldn’t be hampered from doing their job, by lack of funding.
          I thought the salary freeze was good politics and great optics, but the reasons for it weren’t especially significant.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  September 6, 2018

            Of course they should raise their own funds. Government is for the nation, not for political parties.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              Yeah! Politicians should build their own Beehive !
              Pay their own airfares!
              Yeah!!!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 6, 2018

              You haven’t grasped the concept that Government is different from politics, Robert. We fund Govt ministries not party activists and missionaries.

          • Isn’t it highly hypocritical playing the ‘poor need it more’ card with one hand, while grabbing a huge amount of increased funding with another?

            What were your views on Simon Bridges’ expenses?

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              Didn’t give a hoot about Bridges or his spending (though the optics were bad – he acted like a toff, splashing cash around like it was his right (note, Alan). As for ‘the poor need it more’, Pete – obviously they do, in order to keep the b*stards honest! You know that if you starve political parties of funds, corruption creeps in – THAT’S WHAT SUCH FUNDS ARE FOR!!!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 6, 2018

              More tosh, Robert. Bridges arranged meetings all around the country listening to people’s issues as a new leader. That is what MPs should be funded for, not undertaking Green projects or campaigns outside of Government.

          • Pink David

             /  September 6, 2018

            “Political parties shouldn’t be hampered from doing their job, by lack of funding.”

            The lack of a political parties ability to get funding tells you what a failure they are at doing their job.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              When a political party represents a minority view, it’ s harder to fill their coffers. The system has been designed for greater fairness than, “winner takes all”, though I see that appeals to you.

        • Ray

           /  September 6, 2018

          I presume Robert is being “ironic, edgy or it was all just a joke” with his replies here.
          Let’s just collect them up and feel free to remind him when the wheel turns.

          • robertguyton

             /  September 6, 2018

            National doesn’t need more funds. The Greens would be very appreciative of financial support and they’ll use it well 🙂

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              Plus, IT’S A REPORT!
              “The Speaker has tabled a report…”

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  September 6, 2018

        You are disgusting, Robert. Tax is taken by force on the basis it is used for purposes lawfully provided for and scrutinised by Parliament which is therefore accountable to the public for it. It is not a political party slush fund.

        • robertguyton

           /  September 6, 2018

          “Disgusting”?
          Don’t be a silly-billy, Alan. Are you suggesting political parties receive no funding other than that they receive as “donations”? Possibly you are and therein lies the sickness of the political system; he who offers the greatest return to “donors” gets the biggest donations – can you see any potential for corruption there, Alan? National is often accused of such practices.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  September 6, 2018

            If they can’t raise support for themselves they certainly don’t warrant other people being forced to support them. That is fascism.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              They. Already. Get. Such. Funds. All. Parties. FASCISTS!!!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 6, 2018

              Yes, initiated by Lefty fascists. As Parliamentarians they are entitled to funding of their duties to represent their constituents. That definitely doesn’t extend to campaigning or funding their own pet projects separate from Government. Your sense of entitlement is both breathtaking and repugnant.

      • admiralvonspee

         /  September 6, 2018

        gotta get on with saving the planet

        Do us a favour.

  4. David

     /  September 6, 2018

    Ever feel like we are being played. Announce a pay freeze while sitting on a proposal for a huge increase in funding and a gerrymandering.

  5. Patzcuaro

     /  September 6, 2018

    And the army marches on left right, looney left, rabid right, while the band plays on.

    • Corky

       /  September 6, 2018

      Hold tight,Patz. 2020 is coming to the rescue provided National can jettison Bridges.

      • Gezza

         /  September 6, 2018

        Too soon to say that. National don’y really look any better. They need a team like Hosking & Melissa Lee to lead them to the country’s Treasury Chest.

  6. robertguyton

     /  September 6, 2018

    You’re all basing your views/outrage on a post by David Farrar???
    Help me, Lord!

    • PDB

       /  September 6, 2018

      You have some alternative facts? The report is freely available.

      • robertguyton

         /  September 6, 2018

        Farrar’s commentary isn’t “the report”.
        The report doesn’t use such language as: “The details will make your blood boil.”, or “This proposal is a huge rort”, but you guys sucked it up through a straw.

        • PDB

           /  September 6, 2018

          But it does appear to be a ‘huge rort’? Why would you say it isn’t?

          • robertguyton

             /  September 6, 2018

            ’cause it’s “dead in the water”.PDB – your (and Farrar’s) moment of glory turned out to be…a dead duck! Nevermind!

            • PDB

               /  September 6, 2018

              So your answer to not believing a post because it was written by Farrar is to believe a statement by Jordon Williams who you also don’t believe any other time?

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              It’s
              a
              report.
              Not adopted by anyone. If ever it is, you can fly into paroxysms of rage, but till then IT’S A REPORT.

            • PDB

               /  September 6, 2018

              The fact it hasn’t been adopted yet is surely the reason why people should voice their displeasure at what it contains – would be no point after it was adopted.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              That’s right, PDB, reports should be thoroughly frothed-over before they are presented, even if they’ve been unofficially rejected.

            • PDB

               /  September 6, 2018

              Until it’s officially rejected then it remains a possibility, therefore all debate remains valid.

    • Missy

       /  September 6, 2018

      You’re basing your support/cheerleading on a post by David Farrar???
      Help me, Lord!

      • robertguyton

         /  September 6, 2018

        Nope. I’m basing my comments on the opening paragraph for this post of Pete’s.

    • Pink David

       /  September 6, 2018

      Is some part of the information that David Farrar posted that is not true?

  7. High Flying Duck

     /  September 6, 2018

    Jordan Williams said the report was called “dead in the water” by Labour yesterday and had already been rejected by the Government.

    If that was correct, obviously they have a lot more sense than Robert (how’s that for damning with faint praise…)

    • robertguyton

       /  September 6, 2018

      Dead in the water?
      Then why all the froth from Farrar and his sycophants here at yournz?
      Storm, teacup, BIG STORM!!!

      • Gezza

         /  September 6, 2018

        Nobody here thinks that much of DPF or KB normally. Where are you getting your opinions from?

        • robertguyton

           /  September 6, 2018

          Pete must – most of his post is a direct quote from KB!

          • Gezza

             /  September 6, 2018

            A non sequitur. The issue is an important one politically because it smells of rank hypocrisy & bs about Ministers not showing themselves up with big pay increases from Jacinda, & of the minor parties – including the Green Feminist Party, trying to secretly divert tax shekels from the ordinary hard-working, taxpaying tradespersons, merchants, sales persons, lift servicepeople, cashiers, chambermaids, yeomen, yokels, butlers, cooks, footmen & scullerymaids, & sundry other folk of use, to make up for the fact nobody wants to give the tossers any money voluntarily becoz of idiots like Own Goal Golriz.

            PG is hardly a sycophant of DPF’s or Kiwibloggers.
            WTF are you on?

            • Ray

               /  September 6, 2018

              As I said further up, for Robert this is just a merry jape, he is being “ironic” can’t you take a joke etc.
              Of course if any other person says something, to Robert and his chums at the Standard it is as if cast in bronze.
              For example their “John Keys 100 lies” based mostly on misapprehension

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              John Key lied 100 times ???
              I don’t visit The Standard very often these days – I must have missed that post.

  8. Blazer

     /  September 6, 2018

    its 400 lies…Ray.

  9. PDB

     /  September 6, 2018

    • robertguyton

       /  September 6, 2018

      Sean Plunket!
      Scraping, PDB. Who’s next; Cam Slater?

      • Gezza

         /  September 6, 2018

        Gt your doctor to adjust the dosage of whatever it is. You’re over-excited.

        • Gezza

           /  September 6, 2018

          Here’s the e.

        • robertguyton

           /  September 6, 2018

          Well, I’ll tell you what, Gezza, I was speaking in person with the author of the report, Eric Roy, over lunch yesterday about this; straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, and with that in mind, I reckon I’m not to far off with my comments here and perhaps able to see some nuance to the argument that others here might not. Or do you think we should take Farrar’s word for it? DPB’s perhaps? Or Ray’s, David’s, and, dare I say it, Pete’s?
          Over- excited? Hardly. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

          • robertguyton

             /  September 6, 2018

            Eric. Remember him? National Party MP and Deputy Speaker. A real Lefty, aye!
            Sheesh!

            • Gezza

               /  September 6, 2018

              If it was Eric Roy you were speaking to the horse’s other end.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              Happy to share your views with him. Sad though, that your reaction to the good news that someone here had some inside information, that you chose to insult the author of the report, despite the quip being funny. Not your best work, Gezza.

            • PDB

               /  September 6, 2018

              What ‘inside information’ – you’ve provided nothing of substance thus far apart from verbally attack the people questioning the report?

              Are you saying you have inside information that differs from that contained within the report?

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              To you, PDB, I’m saying nothing more 🙂

            • PDB

               /  September 6, 2018

              So your “inside knowledge” was that Roy wrote a crap report that has been binned by the govt?

      • PDB

         /  September 6, 2018

        Spinning like a top today Robert…you’re unraveling faster than this govt is.

        Was Sean Plunkett wrong in his assumptions or did the released report actually mainly financially benefit the incumbent parties and list MP’s? Sounds like he was bang on the money – or because it is ‘Sean Plunket’ then in your eyes he is still ‘wrong’ even when proven ‘right’?

        Annette King replied to that tweet by complaining that she ‘co-authored’ the report (which seemed a bit precious) but strangely enough said nothing to deny his actual predictions.

        • robertguyton

           /  September 6, 2018

          See my answer to Gezza, PDB. If you too have spoken to either of the authors, let us all know and we’ll take that into account (it’d give your wild rants some credibility – perhaps).

          • PDB

             /  September 6, 2018

            Why speak to the authors when we’ve got their full report? Are you saying the authors have other views not shown in the report? Or are you saying the report is crap because the author’s weren’t able to explain themselves properly in it?

            Guyton: “it’d give your wild rants some credibility – perhaps”

            The fact that Eric Roy had lunch with you would destroy any remaining credibility he had. The only one ‘wildly ranting’ appears to be yourself all over this post.

          • Gezza

             /  September 6, 2018

            I think it’s very unfair the way you come here & deliberately provoke upset the poor righties, robert. If any of them end up suffering from anxiety-related disorders or PTSD as a result of your depredations here it’ll be your fault, imo. You should be ashamed of yourself.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2018

              It is, Gezza, they might well, it will be and I am, deeply, sincerely. I won’t ever do it again… unless

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  September 6, 2018

              Go on, G. We have Blazer here whenever we want something stupid said. Robert is redundant in that department.

              Newsflash: Labour and National agree they should get more money. Greens want more too. Winston already got his.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 6, 2018

          How many taxpayers were consulted?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  September 6, 2018

            Silly q. The same number as were consulted over the PM’s $100,000 air taxi ride which meant that she had 2 1/2 days with her baby and didn’t have to spend 4 whole days away from it.

  10. High Flying Duck

     /  September 6, 2018

    As per above:

    “Leader of the House Chris Hipkins rejected the recommendations, saying the report was “dead in the water”.

    “An increase in funding for Parliamentary support is not a priority for the coalition Government and we will not be taking up the recommendations.

    “The report is, in effect, dead in the water.”

    The report into Parliamentary support for MPs was prepared by the Appropriations Review Committee, and is a legal requirement every three years.

    The report does not focus on MPs’ pay or perks, but instead looks into the level of support they are given in terms of staff and office funding.

    It comes soon after the prime minister moved to crack down on MP pay rises and state sector chief executive bonuses.

    Brownlee said he was “very pleased” the Government had rejected the suggestions.

    “The review should be embarrassed that they produced this,” Brownlee said.

    “They were completely inappropriate proposals.”

    The review committee consisted of former Labour minister Annette King, former National MP Eric Roy, and former public servant Bill Moran.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/106846975/report-suggests-13m-in-extra-funding-for-mps-offices-but-government-quickly-rejects-it

    • PDB

       /  September 6, 2018

      So not only should Roy be embarrassed to be having lunch with Robert but he should be embarrassed by his report as well!

      • High Flying Duck

         /  September 6, 2018

        Wait until his secret meeting with Clare Curran comes out…

        • PDB

           /  September 6, 2018

          Forget that, has Ardern confirmed Gayford is the father?

          • Blazer

             /  September 6, 2018

            this would appear defamatory if the same standards right wingers here express, is applied.

            • Gezza

               /  September 6, 2018

              Release the Birth Certificate ! 😣

              It’ll put an end to all the speculation.

            • PDB

               /  September 6, 2018

              Rest easy Gezza, I think it unlikely Roy is the father…can’t even put a decent report together.