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Opinion

LETTERS: ‘Scale down’ MPs salaries

Monday 18 July 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion

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LETTERS: ‘Scale down’ MPs salaries

Dear Editor, in most areas of employment around the world, including here in the Cook Islands, school leavers, and the young and inexperienced start at or near the bottom of the pay scale, and work their way up over time and accumulation of experience, thus justifying higher pay levels.

Ministries and private companies advertise for highly paid positions, but require commensurate experience, educational levels, and exemplary CV’s, etc, in order to justify their employment.

We start Parliamentarians at the very top of the pay scale – ordinary MP’s get paid $72,000, Assistant Ministers get a bit more, Ministers $137,000, and at the top of the tree, the PM gets paid $152,000. These do not include the various perks and allowances which can add up to the many thousands of dollars more.

Almost without exception, these parliamentarians get their new jobs without any experience and yet they start at the top of their scale … how odd! And how unfair. They do not even have to do an apprenticeship, where their pay is lower at the beginning, and increased as they get more experience.

Teariki Heather (of United Party) is on the right track, suggesting that all parliamentarians accept an immediate 45 per cent reduction in their pay (it was weird and illogical for the Remuneration Tribunal to recommend that obscene increase for all parliamentarians a couple of years age, based mainly on a report from the Parliament of Western Australia). Time that was sorted out, and MP’s get paid according to their input, which if it were based on the number of sitting days, they would probably get a debit note!

Ministers can claim to have great responsibilities, and thus justify their pay but they have huge ministerial staff back up, including Ministerial Staff, who mostly do the bureaucratic work, so the Minister is just the face and figure head.

Nowadays we hear regularly from aspiring politicians that they are standing for Parliament because they want to do something for their people – wonderful sentiment so the attraction of a huge salary should not be important. So scale it down, and see if that interest is still there. If the starting pay rate for an MP was say $40,000, would the general interest to represent your people still be as great?

Name and address supplied


Seabed mining another ‘pipe dream’

Bishop Pere, in repeated, lengthy contributions to Cook Islands News (‘Barking up the wrong tree’, July 15), supports the idea of stripping the ocean floor of zillions of dollars in rare earth elements with the same fervour that he preaches from the Apostolic pulpit.

We are told that these minerals will save the earth by making alternative energy sources available. We’ve been promised for decades that the next wave of science will repair the damage from the last wave of science.

It’s all pipe dream. The only thing that will save the planet is for the human species to stop breeding like rabbits and, in the meantime, stop consuming electronic toys, stop growing grains to feed to animals instead of just eating the grains, and, well, we all know what else.

And sorry to be brutal, Bishop, but God did not place the sea-floor minerals in Cook Islands exclusive economic zone because we are the ‘Chosen People’. Nor are we protected from cyclones because we hold an annual day of prayer while our Pacific Islands neighbours get knocked over by cyclones because God looks on them with less favour that upon us, the Chosen Ones.

Name and address supplied