PM Key's pay among world's best - report

BY MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 11:52 07/07/2010
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John Key is one of the world's best-paid leaders when his income is compared with his country's wealth, according to a report.

A survey released by the Economist magazine ranks him higher than the leaders of powerhouse economies such as the USA, Britain, Canada and Australia.

The list of 22 selected countries took into account the relative buying power of leaders' salaries - the ratio of their pay to their country's Gross Domestic Product per person. New Zealand's Prime Minister comes in at fifth on the list.

The Economist's table places Mr Key higher than South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, whom he met earlier this week to discuss a free trade deal, and Chinese president Hu Jintao, who Mr Key is scheduled to meet next on his trip.

Mr Key earns $393,000 a year while New Zealand's GDP per capita is $46,683, putting us 22nd out of 30 OECD countries, according to the New Zealand Institute.

The average New Zealander aged 15 and over earns $23,660 before tax from wages and salaries as of June 2009, Statistics New Zealand figures show.

New Zealand politicians could also soon get a pay rise, following recent controversy over expenses spending.

A Parliamentary Appropriations Review Committee report released recently suggested MPs should lose their international travel perks but get a pay rise of around 10 per cent instead.

Cabinet ministers currently take home $233,000; ministers outside Cabinet earn $195,700, while the basic pay for MPs is $126,200. Pay rates are set by the independent Remuneration Authority.

Selected world leaders who ranked above Mr Key included Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

Mr Key ranks above United States president Barack Obama, Australia's Julia Gillard and Britain's David Cameron on the Economist's table. The table is based on International Monetary Fund, press reports and official sources.

Mr Key, who amassed a reported $50million fortune prior to entering politics, is reported to donate part of his salary to charity.

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