MPs' backpay a seasonal sparkler

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 06:46 19/12/2012

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Christmas cheer may be in short supply for motorists - but MPs are set to receive a stocking filler worth several thousand dollars.

Tomorrow the Remuneration Authority will issue a backdated pay increase, expected to be in the order of 1.5 per cent, with extra to compensate the country's politicians for their travel perk.

On Prime Minister John Key's salary of $411,510 a year, the pay increase is likely to be worth about $6000 a year, with backpay of about $3000.

A backbencher's salary of $141,800, excluding expense allowances, will rise by more than $2000.

Mr Key confirmed yesterday that he had approved a "modest" pay increase.

Remuneration Authority chief executive John Errington said he could not talk about the size of the pay increase till the determination was gazetted tomorrow.

But he confirmed it was in the order of last year's increase of about 1.5 per cent.

However, MPs could also be in line for an adjustment worth a couple of thousand dollars more, based on the extent to which they had reined in travel costs under greater public scrutiny.

This has been estimated by the Remuneration Authority as having the effect of leaving them about $9000 a year worse off.

The authority has already adjusted their pay by $5000 and $2000 during the past two pay rounds to recognise that and is likely to top up pay packets further in its determination tomorrow.

There may also be an increase to the annual tax-free allowance of $16,100 a year, which was last year boosted by 5.3 per cent because of rising costs.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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