MPs are up for a 10%
pay hike as compensation for losing international travel
perks, but may also lose other allowances as officials try to
rein in the ballooning cost of running Parliament.
A review of Parliamentary expenses has recommended ending
MPs' international travel perk, in which up to 90% of
overseas air fares are paid for them and their spouses on
However, the report by the parliamentary appropriations
review committee also said MPs' salaries should be adjusted
to recognise the loss of the entitlement.
The travel perk costs taxpayers about $600,000 a year, but a
10% salary increase recommended in the report for MPs would
result in an additional $1.7 million.
The Unite union, which represents 9000 workers, last night
slammed the recommendation, saying it was unfair, given that
many workers were already struggling as a result of petrol
prices, GST, electricity bills going up and the emissions
trading scheme coming into effect.
Union general secretary Matt McCarten said it was simply
"It would make every New Zealander vomit in their Weetbix
"They put themselves out to be a caste of workers who are
treated differently from others," Mr McCarten said.
"Most New Zealanders are struggling.
"They don't enjoy any perks. They don't get any allowances or
anything like that. It's not fair."
Speaker Lockwood Smith has vigorously defended the travel
perk in the past as being a way of increasing MPs'
remuneration without raising their salaries.
The recommendation to end the perk was one of a number made
by the committee in its three-yearly review of spending on
services to Parliament and MPs which has gone from $54
million in 1991 to almost $140 million last year.
Given that increase and the tight economic environment, it
was time to constrain parliamentary spending, said the
committee's chairmen and authors of the report, former
Speaker of the House Doug Kidd and economist Philip Barry.