21 Jun 2013

Tougher pay penalties for MPs

6:42 pm on 21 June 2013

Changes will be made to a bill on how support for MPs is decided, including tougher penalties for those suspended or absent without leave from Parliament.

A parliamentary select committee said on Friday that deductions to MPs' wages are too lenient and it wants the new law to ensure money can be deducted sooner.

The changes would ensure that MPs who don't have permission to be absent from the House have their pay docked after three days in a calender year, instead of nine.

The deduction of 0.2% of their salary would also apply to the MP in question's full salary, rather than a potentially lower one for an MP without added responsibility.

The committee also wants the Speaker to be able to deduct wages from any MP who is suspended from the House.

However, regarding travel - rather than letting the Remuneration Authority decide entitlements for MPs and ministers as proposed in the bill, the committee says the Speaker and the minister responsible for Ministerial Servies should keep deciding those.