12 Dec 2005

Cook Islands Tribunal meets on MP's salaries

12:25 pm on 12 December 2005

Members of the Cook Islands parliament could be set for a pay rise.

A remuneration tribunal, which has replaced the role of the higher salaries commission in determining salaries and allowances for MPs and the Queen's Representative is meeting this week.

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

Commission members had recommended that salaries and allowances for MPs, the speaker and the Governor General be taxed, and that a non-elected speaker receive less than an elected speaker.

The chair of the three-person tribunal, businessman Richard Barton, says it'll be extremely difficult for the tribunal to make a recommendation, given the controversial nature of the issue.

"The job is one of the most onerous one has to do. You're either going to be unpopular with 99.9 percent of Cook Islanders living anywhere in the world or you're going to be unpopular with 25 families who are the politicians and the Queen's representative. So it's a no-win situation."

Richard Barton says the tribunal is working towards making recommendations by early February.