Stalled plans to rein in politicians' pay will be revived in time to affect MPs' next pay packet, the Government insists.

Critics from both sides of the political spectrum have said the planned reform could actually deliver bigger pay increases under the long-term than the current system.

The Remuneration Authority Amendment Bill was to have been introduced under urgency in Parliament yesterday.

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse now says it will be introduced next week after small "technical amendments" had to be made.


"The delay is about dealing with complexities in the legislation we are replacing - and that's taking longer than we expected to work through."

In announcing the measure, Prime Minister John Key said urgency would be used to nullify the Remuneration Authority's previous decision to hike pay by 5.5 per cent, including travel allowances, before the first adjusted pay packet.

Mr Woodhouse said he remained confident that would still be possible, despite the delays.
"I am confident we'll get the legislation passed by next Thursday."

Mr Woodhouse said that, as previously announced, MPs' annual pay rises will be measured against the quarterly employment survey, and taken each June for the previous year.

The part of the survey relating to MPs' pay will be the average public sector pay increase from July to June of the previous year.

This morning the Green Party has released figures that it says show that if the proposed bill had been in place since the 2007/08 financial year, MPs base salaries would have risen by a total of $31,401.

That compares to a rise of $30,616 under the current system, the Greens say. National Party-aligned blogger and pollster David Farrar raised the same issue earlier in the week.

Mr Woodhouse attacked the Greens' figures as "completely wrong", but was less abrasive about Mr Farrar's calculations.


"David Farrar is assuming that the QES [quarterly employment survey] increases, which included significant increases under Labour, would continue, and he has averaged them.

And I don't accept that that is an appropriate comparison to make."

The Remuneration Authority Amendment Bill effectively tells the Remuneration Authority what it must give MPs.

The authority would still have the ability to change the mix of cash and non-cash items which would have no impact in terms of compensation.

Despite calls from Prime Minister John Key to give MPs a zero or modest pay rise, the Remuneration Authority ordered a 3.5 per cent rise two weeks ago and 5.5 per cent when travel allowances were included.

Despite the apparent hiccups Labour whip Chris Hipkins said Labour would continue to support the bill when it was put up because an enduring solution to the issue of MPs' pay was needed.

"We don't want to be out of step with everyone else, but it is up to the Government to come up with a model that delivers that."

He said he did not know what the Government was looking at doing. "But we are not going to withdraw our support from the process because we want to make sure we get it right."

Prime Minister John Key says a delay in new legislation to try to restrain MPs' pay increases is because of technical reasons rather than a blunder over fixing it to the average public sector wage increase.

National was due to introduce the bill this week but it has been put on hold. The Green Party has questioned whether that was because MPs' pay increases over recent years would have been larger rather than smaller if they were the same as the wage increases in the public sector.

Mr Key said he still believed it was the correct formula and those figures were because the former Labour government had given significant pay increases to public sector workers than National. In recent years MPs' pay increases were also smaller than usual because after urging from MPs, the Remuneration Authority had granted zero or small increases during the global financial crisis.

The delays were nothing to do with that but because the Parliamentary Counsel Office was working through other technical aspects "around non cash items."

"We can do it but we just have to be absolutely sure it's right because we don't want to have to go back and fix it up."