New Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill

Press Release – Office of the Prime Minister

The Government has introduced legislation that puts more decisions regarding MPs’ and ministers’ entitlements in the hands of the independent Remuneration Authority.Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister

5 October 2011

Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill introduced

The Government has introduced legislation that puts more decisions regarding MPs’ and ministers’ entitlements in the hands of the independent Remuneration Authority.

The Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill, repeals the Civil List Act 1979, and brings together more of the powers to decide MPs’ and ministers’ travel, accommodation and communications entitlements under one Act.

Key changes included in the legislation are:

• Most travel and accommodation entitlements for MPs and ministers will be set by the Remuneration Authority rather than Parliament’s Speaker or the Minister responsible for Ministerial Services.
• The current voluntary disclosure regime for MPs’ travel and accommodation expenses will become a statutory requirement.
• The amount that can be deducted from MPs’ salaries for non-attendance in Parliament will increase from a maximum of $10 a day to 0.2 per cent of a MPs’ salary – $270 a day at current rates.

Prime Minister John Key says the new legislation is based on changes recommended by the Law Commission in December 2010.

“It is important the public has confidence in the regime for setting MPs’ and ministers’ entitlements. These changes, which put more power in the hands of independent decision makers, will increase that confidence,” Mr Key says.

“The Speaker and the Government have already taken several steps to improve transparency around MPs’ and ministers’ entitlements, including the regular disclosure of travel and accommodation costs. This Bill takes that a step further.

“The current sanctions for MPs who do not attend Parliament for long periods without a good reason are grossly inadequate. This legislation modernises those provisions,” Mr Key says.

The Speaker will continue to make decisions on MPs’ entitlements to communications services, travel for inter-parliamentary exchanges and the allocation of party and member support funding.

The aim is to have the Bill enacted and in operation in 2012.

ENDS

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