Two submissions have proposed that MPs' salaries be set every three years to take the political heat out of the issue and stop the public flaying the politicians on an annual basis.
Electoral law specialist Graeme Edgeler and National Party-aligned blogger and pollster David Farrar both made the suggestion in their submissions on a bill which will hand over the power to set MPs' travel and accommodation allowances to the independent Remuneration Authority, rather than Parliament's Speaker.
In submissions to the government administration select committee, Mr Edgeler said the Remuneration Authority was already allowed by law to set salaries on a three-yearly basis. He said this would be appropriate because MPs were elected for three-year terms, and he agreed with Mr Farrar's analysis that it would take much of the political heat out of the exercise.
Mr Farrar proposed setting the pay from three to six months before each election. "The current system of annual increases creates a regular self-flagellation exercise as media and members of the public lash 'greedy' MPs ... and pressure is put on MPs to turn down the pay rise or donate it to charity."
He said the public would be more accepting of pay increases if people saw it was over a three-year term.
Setting the salary for an entire parliamentary term before an election meant candidates and the public would know what the pay would be.
Both men supported the Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill which arose from a Law Commission report requested by Prime Minister John Key after controversy over MPs' use of international travel perks and accommodation entitlements.
It will mean the Remuneration Authority will decide most allowances for travel and accommodation while the Speaker will retain control over official international travel and support funding for parties and MPs to run their offices and parliamentary wings.
It will also increase the penalty for MPs who are absent from Parliament for more than nine sitting days in a row to about $280 a day.
Mr Farrar also made a further call for the Parliamentary Service, which administers MPs' spending, to be made subject to the Official Information Act with some restrictions to protect politically sensitive material.By Claire Trevett @CTrevettNZH Email Claire