MPs’ pay rise ‘obscene and outrageous’

Saturday 22 June 2019 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in National

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MPs’ pay rise ‘obscene and outrageous’
Former MP Norman George.

A former parliamentarian has called the 45 per cent pay rise for MPs “obscene and outrageous”.

Norman George, president of the Association of Former Members of Parliament, said the MPs should “shake every time they draw their new salary”.

The Executive Council this week approved the massive pay increase based on the recommendations made by a Remuneration Tribunal.

The prime minister’s salary will rise from $105,000 to $152,250; the deputy prime minister’s earnings will increase from $95,000 to $137,750.

Cabinet ministers, the Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition will rise to $123,250.

The remaining MPs’ $50,000 base salaries will increase to $72,500, with additional allowances for those with extra responsibilities.

George, a lawyer, said a Civil List select committee should have consulted the public on MPs’ salaries. “It is an outrageous amount compared to what an average wage earner is getting. They should shake every time they draw their new salary.”

The Remuneration Tribunal chairman Fletcher Melvin, Antony Will and Makiroa Mitchell-John – took into account the increase in salaries of senior public servants, the consumer price index and the state of the economy over the years before recommending the pay rise.

Deputy prime minister Mark Brown earlier said it was timely that the MPs have had a review of salary after 15 years. “I am happy that the Remuneration Tribunal took into account a number of factor,” he said, “including staying in line with the rate of increase of public service employees over the same period of time.”

But George said the parliamentarians did not do enough work to justify their salary increase.

“They have been underemployed and in the same period of time, they haven’t had enough work done. You get paid for the work you do, not for setting records going around the globe,” George said.

“All the former MPs would be disgusted with this pay increase.”