New Zealand politicians have decided they’re already paid pretty well and will urgently introduce a law blocking their own wage rise, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
Wages for the country’s politicians – like in Australia – are set by an independent body.
But Ms Ardern on Monday told reporters a 3 per cent rise that had been recommended by the Remuneration Authority this month wasn’t “acceptable” and that her Cabinet had voted to instead freeze wages and allowances where they were for a year.
“We do not believe, given that we are on the upper end of the salary scale, that we should be receiving that kind of salary increase,” she said.
PM @jacindaardern has announced MPs' salary and allowances will be frozen for at least a year, despite the Remuneration Authority recommending a three percent increase. @janepatterson talks through the details with @JohnJCampbell.
— Checkpoint (@CheckpointRNZ) August 20, 2018
“Because we, of course, already are on a high income … One of the things we’ve been trying to bridge as a government is the fact that we see these increases at the top end of the scale, without the same increase at the end of the scale where most New Zealanders sit.”
However, because the current law keeps politicians from interfering in the pay decision, New Zealand lawmakers will now have to quickly put through a bill blocking their raises.
That would give them time to work out a fairer formula for how the authority sets the wages in future, Ms Ardern said.
The announcement follows the first mass strikes in a generation by the country’s primary school teachers and nurses, but Ms Ardern denied that had spurred the decision.
New Zealand’s prime minister currently has a salary of about $NZ470,000 ($A426,163), compared to about $538,000 earned by Malcolm Turnbull.
Australia’s federal politicians were given 2 per cent pay rises in July, with backbenchers earning about $207,000 a year, compared to $NZ164,000 ($148,712) across the ditch.