Remuneration Authority

Are Judges underpaid?

CHIEF JUSTICE Sian Elias has received another pay rise, taking her annual salary to well over $500,000 a year – $60,000 more than Prime Minister John Key?s yearly pay packet.

The Remuneration Authority has approved pay rises for all New Zealand judges in line with the rate of inflation and in keeping with the average wage increase of 1.7 per cent for most workers across the country.

The 2 per cent increase is less than what the Authority agreed upon for MPs last year.

In February last year MPs were awarded a 3.5 per cent pay rise, taking the base salary for a backbench MP from $147,800 to $156,000. Following that determination, Key?s salary rose by $23,800 to $452,500.

That means he still earns $62,000 less than the woman who heads the judiciary and presides over the Supreme Court.

Sian Elias? annual salary has risen from $504,000 to $514,000 – $32,000 more than the $482,500 her colleagues on the Supreme Court will receive under the new pay determinations.

Pay rates for Court of Appeal judges will rise from $444,000 a year to $453,000 a year. Salaries for High Court judges and the Chief District Court judge Jan-Marie Doogue will go up from $422,500 to $431,000 while pay rates for district court judges and Maori Land Court judges will rise from $322,500 to $329,000.? Read more »

What is the single most important issue to the Green Party right now? Guess

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Of all the issues that could be giving co-vagina Metiria Turei acid stomach, it’s this one.

The Greens are complaining that the next pay rise for MPs will be too high – even though it’s still to be decided and won’t be announced for a couple of months.

Under new rules it has to be based on public sector pay increases, and in May a 1.5 percent increase was granted backdated to July last year. Read more »

Time we disbanded the Remuneration Authority. 2.3% extra for Len is an outrage

Oh goodie...a payrise

Oh goodie…a payrise

It is time to rid ourselves of the Remuneration Authority.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown and councillors have received a 2.3 per cent pay rise from the independent Remuneration Authority.

Mr Brown’s salary will increase from $259,500 to $265,500 and councillors’ salaries will rise from $101,900 to $104,250.

The salary of deputy mayor Penny Hulse increases from $146,200 to $149,600.

Manurewa-Papakura councillor Calum Penrose said he and Franklin councillor Bill Cashmore did not think the increase was justified and wanted the governing body to reject the increase. ? Read more »

1.5% raise for MPs, what next for public sector employees?

Parliament will pass legislation this week giving MPs a 1.5 percent pay rise.

Prime Minister John Key says the bill will be debated under urgency and go through all its stages in a single day.

He announced last week the Government would stop the 5.5 percent pay rise – $8200 a year – awarded by the Remuneration Authority.

Instead, the pay rise will be linked to the average public sector pay rise as measured by Statistics NZ.

For the year starting July 1 2014, it was 1.5 percent.

The same measure will be used in future years to set MPs’ pay rises. Read more »

John Key moves under urgency to cancel MP payrises

John Key has announced his intention to change MP pay rises.

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency.

Mr Key says the decision was made after the Remuneration Authority?s latest determination which saw the total remuneration received by MPs increased by about 3.5 per cent.

?That increase was neither necessary nor justified at a time when inflation is at 0.8 per cent,? says Mr Key.

?While the decision was made independently of MPs, they should not be receiving increases which are disproportionate to the wider public sector.?

Mr Key says the Remuneration Authority referred specifically to the criteria contained in the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 as the reason for the increases, therefore a law change was necessary. Read more »

Oh the irony: Greens call for cross-party support

To be honest, I didn’t think the Greens knew there was such a thing as working together with people, but it’s nice to see they’ve heard of the concept when trying to score some quick political points. ? Especially as it wasn’t the Greens that brought the issue up in the first place.

The Greens say MPs shouldn’t be given pay increases that are out of step with those of most other Kiwis.

“MPs’ salaries are going up by $8200 but the median income rose only $1300 last year,” said co-leader Russel Norman.

“We’re calling for cross-party support to agree on a system of index linking.”

The 5.5 percent increase was announced yesterday by the independent Remuneration Authority.

MPs’ pay has risen to $156,000 a year, the prime minister’s to $452,300 and cabinet ministers’ to $283,400.

The remuneration authority needs a kick up the hoohaa. ?With inflation near zero percent, and general market increases in the range of 1.7 (from memory), there is no way to justify a 5.5% increase. ? You could say they’ve increased New Zealand’s productivity, but we’re still running deficits, so I’m not sure how you can earn 5.5% and look the tax payer in the eye. ? Read more »

Are you as pleased about Len’s pay rise as I am?

via Yahoo! Len Brown celebrating the start of the Year of the Whores

via Yahoo! Len Brown celebrating the start of the Year of the Whores

Len Brown has scored a payrise, as has every councillor in the latest deliberations from the Remuneration Authority.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown will be paid $259,500 from July after the Remuneration Authority approved a 3.4 per cent pay rise well above the rate of inflation and the average wage increase in New Zealand.

The authority, which oversees public sector pay rates, has recommended a 3.4 per cent pay rise for Mr Brown, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and the chairs of the major committees. The other 16 councillors will receive a 3.3 per cent pay rise, taking their salaries from $98,672 to $101,900.

The $101,900 salary is embarrassing for Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer, who has criticised a sharp increase in the number of council staff earning fat salaries of more than $100,000.

Last October, Mr Brewer said a 256 jump in staff earning more than $100,000 in 12 months “will go down like a cup of cold sick among our stretched suburban ratepayers”. ?? Read more »

Greens propose locking in never ending pay rises for MPs

The Green party think they are onto a winner…locking in never ending pay rises for MPs…except they think that sometimes pay will go down.

The Green Party is urging for a change to how MPs’ salaries are set, in a bid to curb their annual pay rises.

That would make a difference of thousands of dollars in the amount MPs received extra each year.

In a policy announced today, Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said MPs’ salaries should only rise to match the rise in median incomes in dollar terms.

MPs usually receive an annual increase that largely rises in line with pay rises in the general population – though because it is in percentage terms, not dollar terms, it can be worth significantly more.

During the global financial crisis MPs asked for a zero pay increase.

Norman said under the Green Party’s policy MPs’ salaries would rise or fall by the same dollar amount that median incomes increased or fell.

“Rather than the current annual review carried out by the Remuneration Authority that sets MPs’ salaries, the Remuneration Authority would be required to apply the annual change in median individual income supplied by Statistics New Zealand.

And here is what that Statistics New Zealand media weekly income data shows:

Source data from Statistics NZ http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx

Source data from Statistics NZ http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx

 

Read more »

Here piggy, piggy, pig

MPs are self serving pricks at the best of times, but when you seek to rein in their rorts and allowances they really go feral.

They seem to believe that they have the unfettered right to trough it up on the taxpayer. They are wrong.

MPs on all sides are joining forces to defend the right to set their own unlimited travel perks – despite a Government promise to transfer them to an independent body.

Prime Minister John Key pledged three years ago that the Government would strip MPs of the power to set their own perks. It introduced a bill last year to change the system, under which Parliament’s Speaker determines the widely criticised allowances that give MPs unlimited free travel within New Zealand.? Read more »

Why Ethics in Government Matters

National are spinning the message voters don?t care about Pansy Wong?s travel scandal, or minor things like this. They are right on the smaller issue of the travel scandal, but wrong about how this matters.

John Key talked extensively through 2008 about mood and feeling and how important that was to change a government. This mood and feeling does not come about by accident, unless the opposition is useless and cant smack up the government.

What changes momentum rapidly is a view that a government is unethical. It is a mood swing that is hard to reverse, and a good opposition bashes away with seemingly small scandals that build this mood.

National may think that guys like Hodgson are total arseholes going on about stuff that doesn?t matter. This is insular thinking that will bite National, as there will come a time when there are enough scandals to make the swinging voter think National are unethical, and they might as well give someone else a chance. The next lot will suffer from the same process, essentially because politicians are stupid and do dumb things.

Richard Worth, Pansy Wong and Phil Heatley have all eroded a little of National?s credibility. So will the next scandal, and the one after that. Then comes the tipping point when voters think it is time for change.

In line with that I see that?the?Law Commission has recommended and John Key has agreed that an?independent?body should be set up to administer MPs salaries, perks and entitlements.

Prime Minister John Key has moved to give the Remuneration Authority more control over setting MPs’ perks and entitlements after a further call for an end to the days of MPs having control over their own entitlements.

Mr Key announced the government would introduce a law change to give the Remuneration Authority control over setting MPs’ entitlements beyond the base salary.

This will go some way to alleviating the fox in charge of the hen-house arrangement that currently exists. Predictably, since he is totally out of touch and too full of his own importance, Lockwood Smith hasn’t taken kindly to the loss of control.

The report says Parliament’s Speaker, Lockwood Smith, has “real reservations” about an independent body setting MPs’ entitlements.

“He is particularly concerned that an independent body would not understand the needs of Parliament,” it says.

“His strong preference would be to continue to use the mechanism of the Speaker’s Directions which are flexible, easy to amend and draw on the experience of the Speaker.”

Sir Geoffrey said the report carefully reflected Dr Smith’s view “but we don’t agree with it”.

Sometimes I despair at Lockwood’s pomposity, talking about the “needs of Parliament” like they are “special needs”. Given some MPs are indeed challenged maybe he is a little bit right on that. Sir Geoffrey Palmer, a man i seldom have any time for, though, has another little surprise for Lockwood Smith.

The commission also says the Parliamentary Service, which makes payments to MPs, should be opened to the Official Information Act (OIA).

This has been previously rejected as well, although parties have started voluntarily issuing details of their MPs’ expenses.

“While the move to greater transparency is commendable, and provides more information about the total spending of MPs, in some respects the disclosure still lacks transparency,” it says.

“The figures do not distinguish between domestic and international flights, or separately identify travel paid for an MP’s spouse or partner and dependant children…clearly, a voluntary regime is not the same as a statutory requirement.”

What a splendid idea. Pity Lockwood Smith didn’t listen to me in?the?Koru Club a couple of months back when I suggested that if he wanted to become a great Speaker he would do exactly that. He didn’t listen and now he won’t be a great Speaker. Now it is Sir Geoffrey Palmer that will take the kudos and the credit for the suggestion of opening up Parliamentary Services to the OIA.

These are all steps in?the?right direction, even though old troughers like Lockwood Smith have?opposed?them tooth and nail. The bring greater clarity and greater transparency to parliament. But none yet have taken up the suggestion to have an?Independent?Commission Against?Corruption. This would be the ultimate?step?in cleaning up parliament of troughers and rorters. it is a step that needs to be taken. here in New Zealand we have the Speaker handling an inquiry into rorts like Chris Carter, three suits Clayton Cosgrove, Richard Worth, Pansy Wong and Phil Heatley. In Australia they have the ICAC.

The Labor MP for Drummoyne, Angela D’Amore, has been sacked as a parliamentary secretary, but the Premier is refusing to call for her resignation from Parliament after the corruption watchdog found she acted corruptly in falsely claiming thousands of dollars in entitlements for two staff members.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is also recommending that the Director of Public Prosecutions consider bringing charges against Ms D’Amore, who served as parliamentary secretary to the minister for police and the minister for environment, for two offences of misconduct in public office.

The commission found Ms D’Amore and a staff member Agatha La Manna “engaged in corrupt conduct by falsely claiming sitting day relief payments”.

It recommends “action be taken against Ms La Manna as a public official with a view to dismissing, dispensing with or otherwise terminating her services”.

There is a huge difference between how our parliament handles rorters and how Australia handles them. We seriously needs such a commission here, and we need its purview to be over Parliament and all local bodies and the state sector. I’d relish an ICAC looking into Len?Brown’s?appointments processes for CCO?boards. ?If John Key can move that which was previously under the control of parliament and the Speaker to an?independent?body then why not this step? If the Law Commission can see merit in opening up Parliamentary Services to the OIA then why not an ICAC?

Clarity, transparency and sunlight will give us a much better?democracy.