COMMENT:

In another massive piece of virtue signalling, MPs' wages are frozen because the system under which they operate doesn't work.

You can't complain about it because who would listen. You can't argue against it because they're right, the system doesn't work.

But in acknowledging they're high income earners, what are they saying? No one on a high income should be getting a pay rise? That their work doesn't warrant more money?

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It doesn't really say anything, hence it's a PR exercise.

They have always been between a rock and a hard place, of course. The Remuneration Authority is independent, so no matter what they recommend it's always wrong.

We don't like politicians to start with, so any increases are egregious.

The same boring argument is had every year. Those who take it, those who give it away, those who argue it's fair enough. There can be, and are, no winners in that debate.

The real issue, of course, is they are all paid the same. And no system that operates that way is a fair one.

We have, as our representatives, the full selection of talent. From the exceptional to the incompetent, but their skill has nothing to do with remuneration.

A Cabinet minister gets the same whether you are a rock star or the buffoon.

And this is where the whole thing is a massive headline grab, not an answer.

Because what is your answer?

The Act Party, I think it was Rodney Hide, came up with a bulk funding idea. Pay a party a lump sum and they hand it out to MPs based on talent. Not a bad idea.

Potentially full of acrimony and because of it, political fall out. But at least it attempted to differentiate skill sets.

You can't have the decision in house because of bias reasons.

So as rudimentary as it appears, an independent authority is the best of a bunch of hard to swallow options.

You could, of course, do it like the old days. Make it a job without pay, but then you only attract the rich and idle.

But here's the ultimate irony: as much as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern might want to have us believe they're top earners, the top of the top jobs, of which she holds one, should be earning, if they were paid proper market wages, well over a million bucks.

The average CEO, of which you could well argue any Cabinet minister is, is earning a seven-figure salary.

So in that context politicians aren't actually that well rewarded. That's because they would argue there is a service element involved, and they'd be right.

Which brings us back to the beginning. It's always tricky, there is no one-stop shop, magic bullet answer.

Which makes the freeze, and the review spin and PR, not a proper idea.