COMMENT: There's so much about politics that raises the hackles when all the dog really needs is a bone and we all end up wondering what all the fuss was about.
There were a few gnarling their teeth around Parliament yesterday after the newly, self-appointed paymaster Jacinda Ardern rendered the body charged with setting their pay rates, the Remuneration Authority, impotent.
The independent body awarded the politicians a three per cent pay rise but Ardern was having none of it, which of course was an easy determination for her to make, given that she got a pay rise thanks to Winston Peters of $185,000 last year.
The latest increase would have seen her pay rise by a further $15,000.
Her disdain for the pay rise will have to be worn by the rest of Parliament: there'll be a pay freeze for the next year and collective bargaining is off the table while they no doubt set up another committee to decide how best to set politicians' salaries in the future.
The Remuneration Authority's mantra, that its decisions are final, to ensure they're independent of the government, is now not worth the paper it's written on.
A move like this is easy for a new Cabinet to sign off, given they're now all on the pig's back when it comes to their pay packets, earning more than many of them would ever have thought possible.
So it was easy for Ardern to sound altruistic, maintaining the move was all about her Government's values, insisting it wouldn't seem fair increasing their salaries (which are at the top of the income scale) while those at the other end are struggling.
We don't need it, was the dictum from the top.
Freezing their incomes has been talked about before when a red-faced John Key blushed about his $24,000 pay rise three years ago when the authority handed down a 5.5 per cent increase.
The argument then was the gap between ministers and private sector managers was widening. But looking at some ministers in this Government, and in previous Beehive incumbents, the gap's not wide enough.
The only politician on the other side whose income took a dip of close to 50 per cent, but is now back to where he was as a minister, is Simon Bridges who was called by Ardern to tell him of their decision. He was understanding, she says, but then what choice did this free-wheeling politician have?
And on his free wheels, his use of the ministerial limos on his getting to know you tour, and all the money it's claimed he ran up using them was a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
One department pays another for their use - meaning there's no actual drain on the taxpayers' purse other than buying the limos in the first place.