Taranaki MPs not fazed by new roll call

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2014

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Taranaki's MPs are not convinced Parliament's new roll call is necessary with one calling it childish and another likening it to being at high school.

And all four say they are confident their attendance figures would stand up under scrutiny.

This week Parliament announced it would record how many MPs - who earn at least $147,800 a year - turn up for debates, select committees and other business.

And those who skip more than three sitting days will have their wages immediately docked by 0.2 per cent. For a backbencher this would be $295. Outgoing Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern said the new roll call wasn't necessary and was "a little bit childish."

It's because of some "recalcitrant" MPs, such as Hone Harawira and before him Chris Carter, Mr Ardern said.

He won't be affected by it.

New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young said it was a pity the new measures were needed.

"I thought it makes the place a bit like a high school. I have no qualms about it at all. I always comply in terms of the job."

To get leave from Parliament could be quite difficult, he said.

"We were told you can get leave to go to a funeral as long as it's your own. That's how tough it is to get out of this place."

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows said the roll call was just another level of accountability and scrutiny and he was quite happy with it. Yesterday he officiated at the funeral of a family friend.

"Most people would expect having bereavement leave to be a normal part of employment."

Most people are expected to be at Parliament like they would at any job.

"You can't just take time off if you want to go to the beach."

Labour list MP Andrew Little said recording attendance was fair. MPs had a job to do and they were expected to do it.

"I'm pretty confident, as a party, our attendance record is pretty good and I'd be even more confident that my record is excellent."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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