7 Oct 2011

MPs in line for potentially big pay rise

8:37 am on 7 October 2011

MPs face an embarrassing pay rise just a week or two before November's general election and are already saying they do not need it.

The Remuneration Authority is due to announce a pay rise within four to five weeks to compensate MPs for having lost their international travel subsidy.

Last year, the authority gave MPs and ministers a 1.4% pay rise as well as an extra $2000 a year to take account of falling use of the travel subsidy, but did not fully compensate MPs for losing the travel entitlement.

The authority's chairman, John Errington, has confirmed he expects a decision on that to be released within the next four to five weeks.

If the authority decides to pass on most of the $10,700 estimated value of the travel entitlement, MPs will get a hefty boost to their salaries, which begin at $134,800 a year.

However, MPs are reluctant to take the money, particularly as low-paid workers such as cleaners struggle on $13.50 an hour.

Labour Party deputy leader Annette King says MPs have already said they do not want a pay rise.

Finance Minister Bill English says MPs have no control over the way remuneration is determined because it is handled by an independent authority.

The election will be held on 26 November.

MPs' salaries

Prime Minister - $400,500

Deputy Prime Minister - $282,500

Cabinet Minister - $249,100

Minister outside Cabinet - $209,100

Speaker - $249,100

Deputy Speaker - $174,200

Opposition Leader - $249,100

Other party leader - $148,500

Select committee chair - $148,500

Backbench MP - $134,800