Friday, 15 May 2020

Parliament quits MP pay cut debate to go home early


“In an outrageous move, Parliament has today passed voluntary MP pay cuts and avoided any debate over whether to make them compulsory and transparent”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Remuneration Authority (COVID-19 Measures) Amendment Bill, passed by Parliament this afternoon, gives the Remuneration Authority the option of reducing MPs’ pay by up to 20 percent for up to 6 months.

“Labour MP Damien O’Connor said the Government’s position was that the Authority should have the ability ‘to consider individual circumstances in each case.’

“In effect, this means MPs will be able to opt out of taking a pay cut if their circumstances warrant it.

“That would be offensive to the workers who have been forced to take pay cuts or who have lost their jobs.

“I had planned to propose two amendments to the bill. The first would have made 20 percent pay cuts for 6 months compulsory for all MPs. If that amendment failed, the second would have required the Authority to publish information on which MPs opted to take pay cuts.

“National, Labour, the Greens and NZ First all said they would rather go home early than debate my amendments.

“MPs from both sides of the House agreed that Parliament should skip debate on the first and second readings and the committee stage, meaning there was no chance to propose any changes to the bill.

“A month after the the Prime Minister's announcement to cut MP pay, Parliament rushed through completely inadequate legislation.

“Jacinda Ardern was happy to accept adulation from global media for her promise to take a pay cut, but it's clear there was no plan to actually achieve it.

“As so often happens with this Government, we got a first rate announcement but third rate delivery.”