Barclay absent on full pay

Stuff tries to keep the Barclay story going:  He’s making $3000 a week but no-one knows if Todd Barclay will ever return to Parliament

It remains unclear whether embattled Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay will return to Parliament before retiring at the election in September.

Barclay has been absent from the House and select committees since he announced he would stand down in June over further revelations about his alleged illegal taping of a staff-member.

Parliament is currently in recess but will sit for a further four weeks prior to the election. Barclay is the deputy chair of both the Education and Science and Primary Production select committees.

Senior whip Jami-Lee Ross and Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie are travelling to Queenstown on Tuesday to meet with Barclay.

Ross said he would likely be talking to Barclay about whether he was coming back to Parliament or not.

“I don’t know if he’s made a decision yet. I’m sure that will come up in the conversation – we’ll discuss if and when he does come back to Parliament.”

 

The young MP, who usually has a busy schedule, hasn’t been spotted at a single public event – even when other National MPs have visited the electorate.

It is understood he was even absent from a National Party fundraiser in Queenstown on Friday, which deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett attended.

Barclay was active on Twitter up until June 19.

Since then, nothing.

Not many jobs allow you to keep getting paid while not working. In this case Barclay is very generously paid.

At least he doesn’t seem to be clocking up travel expenses.

This doesn’t look good, he should either be working as an MP or he should resign.

But comparatively, how bad is this?

How much value do taxpayers get out of back bench Government MPs? Especially list MPs?

How much value do we get out of opposition MPs?

John Key and David Cunliffe resigned as soon as they could while avoiding triggering a by-election. They aren’t being paid, but they have left their electorates unrepresented.

How many MPs are spending a lot if not most of their time campaigning? Working for their re-election and not working for the country?

Winston Peters spends a lot of time and money on a leader’s salary campaigning all over the country.

The Green co-leaders and most if not all Green MPs went to Nelson on Sunday to launch their election campaign. Perhaps they all paid for their own travel (presumably not by bicycle) and accommodation.

Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern have been campaigning for months. Who is paying for that?

Who paid for Matt McCarten’s salary while he set up a ‘non-partisan’ campaign using foreign students? And the other Labour staffers’ salaries? Has Stuff investigated that yet?

Barclay’s situation seems farcical, but his skiving off on full salary is not a lot more wasteful than a lot of Parliamentary expenses.

Labour: poor performance warrants halving salaries

Bad and good reasons for a salary reconsideration.

A Labour MP thinks that poor performance warrants cutting salaries in half. NZ Herald reports:

“The events of the last week have shaken the farming sector’s confidence in Fonterra, and the chief executive must take responsibility,” Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor said in a statement.

“Theo Spierings should lead by example and voluntarily reduce his pay by half,” he said.

The events of the last seven years have shaken the political sector’s confidence in Labour.

Should O’Connor take responsibility and voluntarily reduce his pay by half? And Andrew Little and the rest of the Labour MPs?

Fonterra’s problems are largely due to global milk prices, which are affected by global demand for milk and global production of milk. Spierings is nowhere near fully responsible for milk throughout the world.

Labour MPs are a primary cause of Labour’s problems.

Another primary cause is a lack of party finances. Perhaps O’Connor will give half his salary to the party. Then he could ask his colleagues to follow his example.

UPDATE: Chris Trotter has already thought of something similar:

Well, here’s an idea (hat-tip to Danyl McLauchlan). Why not make it a rule that a MP cannot take home more than the average wage of, roughly, $55,000 per year. The balance of their income, $95,000, would go to the party. This would guarantee an annual income, from its current 32-strong caucus, of at least $3,040,000 per year, or, $9,120,000 over the three year parliamentary term.

UPDATE2: Matt Long comments on this at Kiwiblog:

Apart from world dairy prices falling Fonterra “forgot” to apply for access to the US market, alienated their shareholders, created a massive needless food scare and is seriously annoying staff with bureaucratic nonsense. We used to be very proud of the NZ Dairy Board, does anyone feel like that about Fonterra? Theo needs to step up or move on.

If that is at all accurate there’s valid reasons why Spierings’ salary and position could be questioned.