16 Nov 2010

Authority to consider Speaker's view on salaries

4:17 pm on 16 November 2010

The Remuneration Authority will be setting MPs' salaries for the year to July 2011 before Christmas and says it will take into consideration any directions from Parliament's Speaker.

MPs are paid a salary, but get thousands of dollars in extra travel and accommodation allowances each year.

Prime Minister John Key has told Speaker Lockwood Smith that the National Party wants international travel perks scrapped.

The call follows the resignation of Pansy Wong as minister of women's Affairs after her husband misused the subsidy for overseas travel.

Remuneration Authority chairperson John Errington says that if a direction is made by Dr Smith, it will be taken into account.

However, Mr Errington says the authority is seeking legal advice on whether a change could be made to a salary component half-way through the year.

Mr Errington says the current economic conditions are being taken into account in the determination of MPs' salaries for this year.

Meanwhile, the Law Commission is due to release a report before Christmas recommending an overhaul of the way MPs' pay and expenses are decided.

The commission has been reviewing the Civil List Act, which deals with the remuneration of MPs and ministers.

Its report, and draft legislation to replace the act, will be tabled in Parliament within a few weeks.

It will recommend a new framework for determining MPs' pay, allowances and expenses.