28 Sep 2016

Former Fiji PM slams new allowances for MPs

7:43 am on 28 September 2016

A former Fiji prime minister has slammed the government for passing large-scale allowance hikes for MPs.

Mahendra Chaudhry, the Labour Party leader, said it's "mind-boggling" that on top of their generous salaries, MPs now get US$215 a day, instead of $73, in sitting weeks, while most ordinary workers receive around US$53 a week.

Mr Chaudhry said that for a trip to Wellington, the prime minister would receive US$1464 a night under the new rates, which is outrageous.

The leader of Fiji's Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry

The leader of Fiji's Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry Photo: AFP

The prime minister will receive more than three times the UNDP rate for overseas travel plus an extra $293 a day on top of that.

Mr Chaudhry said it's contemptible that MPs are so generous on themselves with public money while a significant portion of the population is extremely poor.

"One third of our people live below the poverty line and they go to bed each night half hungry," he said.

"And how do you jusify these kinds of increases to people who are already very well paid indeed in terms of the general prevailing rates of pay both in the public and private sectors."

Mahendra Chaudhry said it was unethical to have the allowances reviewed by a committee wholly made up of MPs.