12 Dec 2005

Cook Island MPs could get a pay rise against previous recommendations

7:53 am on 12 December 2005

There are concerns that Cook Islands MPs could be set for a pay rise despite earlier recommendations for a decrease in salaries by the Higher Salaries Commission.

A remuneration tribunal, which has replaced the role of the Commission in determining salaries and allowances for MPs and the Queen's Representative, is meeting in the coming weeks.

The bill to legislate the tribunal was drafted within a few days in October after the commission recommended the decrease.

One former Commission member, Teresa Manarangi-Trott, says the Commission's recommendations that total salaries and allowances for MPs be taxed were clearly unpopular with parliamentarians.

"Given the strong group of people and the fact that they were able to pass through parliament the new tribunal legislation without any opposition suggests to me that MPs are looking after themselves."

Teresa Manarangi-Trott says the commission made a fair recommendation within the budget allocation, while a parliamentary select committee had recommended pay rises well above budget provisions