Key Points:

The Renumeration Authority will today award MPs pay increases of between 3.8 and 4.1 percent, meaning the average backbencher will earn a base salary of $122,500.

Prime Minister Helen Clark is expected to see her salary rise from $347,000 to about $361,000.

Do you think MPs' salaries are appropriate? This debate is now closed.

My husband works for the military and I find it disgusting that the MP's who are government employees get this sort of payrise when the military are the most underpaid government employees. I cannot remember the last time my husband had a payrise for just doing his job. He has to quantify and work his butt off to get a promotion which hopefully comes with a payrise. I think that payrises should be rewarded for excellent work practices. I fail to see how the government could even remotely achieve this.

- Anouschka

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I wasn't going to contribute to this debate , but after reflecting on it, it makes me want to puke. When the rest of us are ploughing on under the yoke of this Government's recession inducing economic policies, this comes as a real kick in the teeth. Under this govt. we are overtaxed, underpaid, watching interest rates breach 10 per cent and are spectators to social decay on an unprecedented scale. If we had a world class health system, a decent defence force, a police force with resources and time to actually serve the community, education which promotes excellence, skilled people staying in NZ and strategic investment in infrastructure - then I would say "well done you deserve it". Unfortunately, rampant welfare dependency, a bogus stadium circus, self serving legislative change, immigration for house repairs and speeding motorcades isn't value for money.

- Russ Bell

I left NZ in 1993 because I could not earn enough money to live. The wage I was being paid meant I could only exist. All of my wage went into my mortgage. All of my husbands wage covered all other "cost of living" expenses. There was no money left for luxury items, like new clothes or shoes; there was no money for the occasional restaurant dinner. I now earn in excess of $60K per year while my NZ counterparts earn up to $40K per year. I think the Politicians should forego their pay rise and give the low wage earners an 8 per cent rise for Christmas.

- Fiona

We have too many MPs for our size and these people are not interested in the common good, only their own agendas. Democracy is no longer available to voters. List mps should be ditched and we pay them all on performance basis. No problem paying more if we are all doing better.

- Russ Mcgehan

Why is it always those in highly well paid jobs that get such huge salary increases? What about those of us who actually do the "hard" work? The rest of us have to be happy with a paltry $1000 rise per annum which doesn't even take into account inflation, the cost of living or anything. This is disgusting!

- Tracey Cooke

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I would like to see less of a spread between Prime Minister and back-benchers. Yes, the PM and cabinet function as NZ's senior executives and for that role are woefully under-compensated in comparison to salaries for management jobs in business. But management is a secondary role; the primary role of each MP is to represent the people of NZ in governing the country according to our wishes, and in that vital, democratic function all MPs are equal. There shouldn't be a factor of 3 difference in salary between Prime Minister and backbencher because there isn't be a factor of 3 difference in their relative importance. They are more like a board of directors, with the Chairman only slightly more prominent than the rest, than a hierarchy of executives. Let's double the backbenchers' salaries, to give them more like the proper parity. Then, with the help of the media, monitor the performance of every one of them to make sure they're earning it.

- Trilby

Public servants or public masters? They tell us daily to give more of our money to them (tolling our roads, petrol taxes, higher fees etc) to build bigger roads (but not public transport) and bigger stadia (but not where we want them), because there's not enough money to go round everything. They offer measly wage increases to our hospital staff (in all fields, not just doctors and nurses), cut our waiting lists, and allow the DHB to kill off a perfectly good company (MedLab) for nepotistic reasons, and they won't listen to us - the people they claim to represent. And they want a reward for this??? Fix the country with that money first, and if there's anything left over they can fight over the rest as a bonus. They already get paid better than most of us, and we don't get wage rises which keep up with inflation, so why should they? We want world-class public transportation, world-class healthcare, and a stop to the brain-drain. They want more money. Who's winning here!? Bring on the election.

- Kylie Burling

Having worked in Parliament, I can assure readers that most MPs are hard-working and diligently believe that the work they do helps all New Zealanders. Mostly, they do long hours and spend days away from their families to meet the demands of party and public. While we may see them on the news in the pure theatre that is Question Time, remember that is only 3 hours a week, 40 weeks a year - the rest of the time it's hard work.

- Michael Ellis

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Payrise, $15k

PledgeCard, $800k

Changing laws to suit oneself?

Priceless

- Chris

It's predictable that the general feeling will be one of loathing at the thought of someone other than ourselves receiving a payrise. It ain't fair will be the general catchphrase. But let's be honest, who in their right mind would want public scrutiny 24 hours a day, every move reviewed, our history made public (and who hasn't got something in the closest), your household watched, media plying cameras everytime you enter your garden.

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I love the fact that when I leave work no-one really cares. I enter my home and no one really watches. I walk to the pub and no one stares. I wouldn't take $360k a year to change any of that. Good on them for wanting to be politicians. I bet you my fellow citizen wouldn't do this job. So lets just leave them to their jobs and be thankful some folk actually want to do this as a career. By the way, boss, do you think it would be out of order to seek a similar rise (yeah right)

- Dave Lewis

If only the other public sectors could get a similar increase we may not lose so may of our skilled labour overseas and be having strikes!!!

- Nicky

To guarantee continuous salary increases in line with or over the rate of inflation for politicians shows no respect for people who voted them in. If this is a "right", why don't they put it in the legislation for all New Zealanders, so that all of us get a protection from inflation, not just priviledged ones? I guess this would create a problem with self-employed - if they don't make more money, they can't just pay higher wages. This just goes to show that pay increases of politicians that are not linked to their performance are fundamentally flawed, and need changing.

- Ljubisa

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Nurses, police and teachers are paid peanuts for what they do, MPs and bureaucrats are paid heaps for what they do. Who would you say was more valuable to the community? - say no more.

- Dave Te

This is great news.......as long as all public sector workers get the same percentage increase!! If not I guess you will just see even more leave for Australia, a place where the 'middle class'(yes there was once one in this country) appear to get a better deal.

- John Hewlett

While I feel the salaries are excessive, I do agree that they should be 'well paid'. Perhaps some CEO's are overpaid also. It makes me wonder why I bother for my measly $35k - however compared to 5 years ago and getting unemployment I now feel rich. I feel we should, instead of pointing our finger at the MP's, be questioning the Renumeration Board. Who are they, how do they 'get' on the board and how do they come up with these salary figures. If their job is to set salaries for our public servants such as MP's and judges - why are they not doing it for teachers, nurses etc also?

- Tracey

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Who cares if our hospitals are crippled by pay strikes. It's good to see our MPs have their priorities straight.

- Zacbot

I think MPs are paid well and do not need a pay rise, they have only spent their time this year on personal attacks, and petty this ,and talked of wasting money on costly stadiums for one of games when cheaper options will do. Low income workers and benefits need to be bought up to a more reasonable living standard first. This has not been done since the Shipley government lowered it. Also hospital waiting lists need to be fixed, along with roading.

For what reason are they being paid an increase? All they seem to do is bring in policies that the average NZer don't want & fight among themselves. When was the last time the average wage earner got a tax reduction or an increase in their pay packets? It's time for the government to stop robbing the poor & putting it their own pockets.

- Helen Thompson

How come all of a sudden the reserve bank has lost control of inflation within its strict parameters and the politicians receive an over the top and backdated halfway through this year and others pay rise as well?

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- Christian Prudence

The origins of politicians being paid arose originally to stop Parliament becoming a club of rich men who could afford to be there. The motivation was not a large salary but to adequately reward and recompense ordinary people who chose to serve the public as many still do in other roles in local government, school boards etc, often on a voluntary basis. It is without doubt a demanding job being Prime Minister but it should not be the salary which is the motivating factor for a politician. Goodness knows enough stand saying they want to make a difference while none stand saying they simply want to make a quid. I have yet to hear one refusing it however. Finally, the comparison to the private sector is invalid because this choice is always open to politicians as well. The sad fact is most couldn't command the same sort of salary or perks as evidenced by the lack of ex politicians who have achieved in any other field.

- Dave Elliott

Tall poppy syndrome is still alive and well in NZ I see. If you want her salary then do her job but don't moan otherwise.

- Helen

When viewed in comparison to remuneration for CEO's in the corporate sector Helen's pay is laughable. she has the number one job in politics in the country and has to bear the burden of living in the public eye, as well as co-ordinating the running of the country. The grafter-moaner-tall poppy element in the New Zealand population will no doubt be up in arms about this pay rise, fuelled by media spin and hype. We need to pay politicians well just to put up with the daily tirade of intrusion and bashing from these people. I say get a grip and get over it, the reality is that out country's leaders need to be remunerated appropriately or we will never have anyone if calibre in government. For God's sake, Helen earns less that quite a few of our All Blacks. Which job is more important?

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- Hayden

Truthfully, I would rather have my leaders worrying about the country than how to pay their bills. Its undoubtedly a very difficult job with intense stress and pressure so an increase in salary seems justified. I say that they are being appropriately and if they were in the private sector they would probably make more. If we don't pay our leaders enough than the well qualified and experienced public servants will just join the private sector and we will be left with inferior leaders.

- Antony Jukich

Their wages are completely disproportionate. They were too high at the start of their term, and they're getting well above the average pay rise per cent-wise. It's not as if they were actually accountable for their decisions. The pay rate does not include any of the perk values of the position either, putting the cost as something quite astronomical for coordinating a place of 4 million people.

- Carl

Helen Clark and others who accept this pay rise need to consider the difficulties faced by patients who keep getting 'removed' from the waiting lists under the guise of 'elective surgery' (all surgery is urgent) when there are strikes by health workers. Without wishing to become involved in the debate amongst unions, health workers and health bureaucrats the Labour Government (or perhaps the right-wing bulk-funded government) should pay their money to those patients whose cancer surgeries have been postponed, yet again. Situations, such as this example and others, would never be allowed to escalate in other OECD countries - our health service and accessibility to maintain wellness is very poor. One has to question whether we can afford these pay increases, when people are dying in New Zealand, simply because health sector bureaucrats, health workers and a confusion of the definition 'elective surgery' transcend to such a degree that NZ Citizens are pawns in a manipulative game where other people decide their mortality. Surely, this is not the message we should be sending to our younger citizens that this is how New Zealand provides social services, health care and future well-being. MPs earn more than sufficient to house, clothe and feed themselves and then some. What has happened to the average New Zealand individual and their quest to have a similar life-style. Wake up Helen Clark - look after your citizens!

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-Judy Selvara

I fail to see a justification for an increase - there have been no KPI's reported, let alone achieved. What are they doing better this year than they were doing last year?

- D J Mills

I think they are worth every penny of our tax-dollars. If my wife and I struggling to bring up our child in a low-wage economy is the price I must pay for the listening, honest and representative government I am privileged to serve, it is a small price to pay.

- Lee

Why don't the MPs go without like the rest of us. Talk about rape & pillage the country.

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-Chris Nield

Very angry about this, the rest of us have to cope with rising power bills ,increasing rates and general hikes in costs of just about all other bills for general living. We don't have credit cards, store cards etc but struggle to keep up with our ever increasing household costs and NO pay rises for us before Christmas and from what Dr Cullen has been saying NO tax cuts to look forward to in the future. Getting pretty hacked of with this Govt's take, take attitude and not a lot going back to the people.

- Helen

PM's salary is inadequate. What is unfair is the chief judges' salary which is extraordinarily huge, out of proportion to her responsibilities in my view and the rest of her portfolio.

- Sam

I think our PM deserve more salary we have to consider the hours she worked and how she missing family. think about the salaries of some CEO's and TV presenters. So I wish they should get more salary.

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- Austin Baizil

The Prime Minister of New Zealand thoroughly deserves her pay rise and deserves more! I hope she has a great Christmas and I wish her and her husband a Happy New Year.

- Marian Crook

Maybe she should consider donating some of that money to the stadium, or to cancer medication funding. Rather than her lifestyle.

- Rachel

At the moment our hospitals are in turmoil due to staff strikes, particularly in the radiology departments. Their pay is not indicative of what they do for the health of the nation. How can the government justify this and then up their own pay? They are already horribly overpaid as it is. If this is an adjustment for inflation then why are they not consistent around the whole board? As a student I have claimed the $150 per week student loan for around 4 years now. During this time rental housing, flats in particular have skyrocketed 20 or so per cent in weekly rent, with the total claimable amount unchanged. How is the future (those paying for their tertiary education) of the nation supposed to cope with the massive debts we are incurring and the quality of life we are currently living?

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- Rob Carr

When Mr Cullen has and continues to state that the country cannot afford to give the people of New Zealand and beneficiaries a rise that would even match the CPI. This is the second raise they have had in 12 months. It is about time the voter of New Zealand called for a new election. Labour are a bankrupt and deceitful government.

- Carl Forster

I reckon 4-5 per cent pay increase is unjustified - makes my 2 per cent this year seem like a joke.

- Dean Bentley

Why?? when so much poverty on our back doorstep!!

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-Toni

I think that we should go back to Samuel Pepys' day when MPs were unpaid. Given the opportunity, I could reduce the cost of Parliament by about 50 per cent, and make money doing it.

- Chris Randal

I am sure we all appreciate the necessity to pay reasonable salaries to obtain quality people and I have no doubt there are several MPs that justify salaries at this level, however if most of the current MPs were paid on a recognition of performance basis the proposed salary payments after this increase would appear totally inappropriate. In my opinion if they were involved in the private sector few if any of the current MPs would justify in excess of $50,000 and certainly no "perks".

- John Lewis

I believe it was our esteemed finance minister who earlier this year told Kiwi's they should not seek pay rises. I believe the National and Labour governments have for the last decade pursued the goal of a low wage economy. It appears that those low wages are only meant for the ordinary citizen and not for those who feed from the public trough.

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- Stephen Harris

Its very simple, if MPs are to get a wage increase it should be in line with what we the public get. After all they are public servants not sports or rock stars. Anything over the inflation rate for this lot is just a terrible waste.

- Alex