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Much Ado About Housing – Public outcry over politician pay and entitlements amid austerity measures

Summarised by Centrist 

Chris Luxon, already one of the highest-paid leaders in the Western world with a salary and perks package well north of $500,000 (UK PM NZ$327k, France Pres NZ$339k, Canada PM NZ$483k, US Pres NZ$669k) has been in the gun over his entitlement to claim a further $52,000 tax free to rent his own home for two nights a week. [Read More]

Bryce Edwards says that amidst rising living costs and government austerity, New Zealanders are voicing disapproval over politicians’ generous pay and entitlements. Discontent has been fueled by recent revelations that Prime Minister Christopher Luxon claimed a $52,000 accommodation allowance for his Wellington apartment, despite owning it outright. 

The backlash was swift, leading Luxon to repay the $13,000 received and renounce future claims to the allowance. 

The controversy around Luxon’s allowance claim and the state of Premier House raises questions about the equity and optics of politician perks amidst a cost-of-living crisis. Many MPs, like the PM, “are the landlords of their own state-funded rentals,” says Edwards. 

He quotes a missive by The Taxpayers’ Union: 

“New Zealand’s MPs are already among the most highly paid in the world, and when you add in their additional perks and spending allowances, all of which are not subject to the Official Information Act, taxpayers aren’t getting a fair deal.”

Edwards says the Remuneration Authority, reviewing politician pay amidst economic challenges, may actually choose to recommend pay increases to keep pace with CEO salaries. 

If they do, expect fireworks, says Edwards.

Read more over at Democracy Project

Image: Ballofstring

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