Christmas payrise for MPs
While Christmas is still grim financially for many New Zealanders, politicians - who earn nearly three times the average wage - are about to pocket even more.
Mana MP Hone Harawira says he and his fellow MPs “don’t deserve it”, but Labour leader David Shearer wouldn’t say.
“It's not up to me about whether I deserve or not deserve it,” he says.
To keep things tidy, it's up to an independent group – the Remuneration Authority – to decide how much MPs are paid.
Prime Minister John Key says the increase was the authority’s idea.
“Pretty much every year they've written to me and recommended an increase and I’ve tended to [have written] back saying, ‘don’t do that’, and they've delivered one anyway.”
Since 2005, backbencher salaries have risen by $24,000 to $141,000. Over the same period the Prime Minister's rose by $64,000 to $411,000.
Mr Key says he’s comfortable for that to go up a little further.
“This year the recommendation is for a small increase. It seems to be in line with the national average, maybe slightly lower, so I’ve written back saying in principle we're comfortable with that.”
The average pay rise was 1.9 percent, so assume MPs get a 1.5 percent raise like they did last year – that's $2,000 for backbenchers and $6,000 for the Prime Minister, plus any extra allowances.
And because it's back paid, they get half as a lump sum.
MPs' pay rises are typically announced around this time of year, and this lot will be formalised on Thursday.
It's part of what's known as the ‘end of year dump’ of negative headlines that politicians hope will slip past a busy public.