State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman says he is not happy about a cash bonus for unionised parliamentary staff, but can do nothing about it.

The Herald on Sunday reported last week the agency in charge of parliamentary staff had agreed to union members receiving a one-off $1000 bonus - double the amount for non-union members. This was despite John Key's National Party previously calling such deals discriminatory.

The Herald on Sunday understands the party was horrified to read about the bonus in the newspaper, and caucus agreed Coleman should make sure either every worker received $1000, or no one did.

Coleman denied that, but said neither he nor his colleagues were happy about the bonus.


"We think the non-union people should be getting access to the same deal as union people ... it's not good, we don't like it."

Nothing could be done, as the deal had been signed, and negotiations were independent of ministers.

PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott said unionised staff received a bigger bonus because of the effort they put into the nine-month long negotiations, not because they belonged to the union.