MPs Express Mixed Feelings Over Pending Pay Rise Announcement: “Never a Perfect Time,” They Say

New Zealand Members of Parliament (MPs) are reacting cautiously to news of an impending pay rise, acknowledging the complexity of the situation.

The Remuneration Authority, an independent body responsible for setting pay for key public office holders, has decided that MPs should receive a pay increase, marking the first raise since 2017.

Several MPs stressed the independence of the authority and the importance of separating such decisions from political influence. Cabinet minister Shane Jones emphasized the need for these decisions to remain independent of political interference.

The pay increase, amounting to a 2.8 percent rise backdated to last October, will see an ordinary MP’s salary rise to $168,600, with further increases planned over the coming years. Cabinet ministers and the prime minister will also see salary increases, while some MPs have indicated their intention to donate their increases to charity.

While acknowledging the decisions made by the Remuneration Authority, MPs expressed discomfort with the timing of the pay rise, particularly amid economic challenges faced by many New Zealanders. Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson noted the potential for public perception to be affected negatively by the pay rise, especially given current economic hardships.

The history of government intervention in MP salaries was also discussed, with past instances of freezes and cuts during periods of economic uncertainty. Labour leader Chris Hipkins emphasized the importance of allowing the Remuneration Authority to make decisions independently, without political interference.

Overall, MPs acknowledged the complexities of the situation and expressed a commitment to abide by the decisions of the Remuneration Authority while acknowledging public sentiment and economic realities.TIN Bureau

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