The same wage rise for all MPs is wrong – but it’s worse when it comes to paying namby-pamby judges

Hanging Judge Jeffreys ... a bloke who earned his keep.

Alf must admit to being somewhat pissed off with The Boss today.

His grievance has been triggered by the way we MPs have our pay decided and pay rises announced. It’s a same-pay-rise-for-all deal, the sort of thing trade unions negotiate to ensure that workers and the drones are paid the same and that the system promotes mediocrity.

All MPs have been given a pay rise.

But a hard-working star like Alf is getting the same pay rise as buggers like Paul Quinn, who was described by the political gurus at Trans-Tasman as a media-loathing misfit, and rude and arrogant. The newsletter reckoned “National should start wondering whether this list MP is a waste of space.”

Worse, Alf is being paid the same as that bald-pated poof, Chris Carter, and a whole heap of other banck-benchers you have never heard of because they don’t actually seem to do too much or say anything worthy of anyone’s attention.

The bloody news media – of course – are disparaging of our pay rises.

Stuff says MPs have been given “a $4000 Christmas bonus” and can look forward to another pay rise in the new year.

This follows the Remuneration Authority – the independent body which sets politicians’ pay – announcing a 1.4 per cent rise, which it said was less than inflation and in line with other public servants.

It takes a backbencher’s basic salary from $131,000 to $134,800. Prime Minister John Key will now get $400,500.

The average New Zealand wage is $49,474 a year.

The MPs’ increase will be backdated to July, and includes a $2000 payout which the authority awarded because MPs have not been using their international travel allowance.

Their tax free allowances – which pay for gifts, entertaining and other expenses – will also rise to $15,300.

So what’s Alf’s beef with The Boss?

It’s this: the Remuneration Authority is supposed to be an independent statutory body.

But according to NZPA –

MPs were given a 1.4 percent pay rise

…despite Prime Minister John Key urging the Remuneration Authority to freeze their salaries.

A spokesman for Mr Key has revealed the prime minister was consulted by the independent authority, which announced the pay rise yesterday.

“He argued there should be a nil increase for MPs, or if there was to be one it should be in the band of other public sector pay settlements,” the spokesman said.

The authority partly followed Mr Key’s advice — it said the pay rise was roughly the same as public service increases and less than the inflation rate since the last increase.

So what sort of pay rise could we have expected if bloody Key had kept his damned nose out of things?

A bigger one, Alf imagines.

And that’s why he is highly disgruntled.

It’s been a bad year when it comes to the rewards and perks that rightly go with hours of hard slog to promote the public good.

The travel perk, as we all know, was scrapped last month, after landing a series of MPs in political trouble, including the aforementioned Chris Carter.

The previously cited Stuff report points out –

Once that is formally announced the authority will make another determination.

In July, a parliamentary appropriations review committee said MPs should get an extra 10 per cent if the allowance was dumped.

There are heaps of mean-minded sods out there in the community, alas, and Alf is disappointed to hear the adverse reaction among some of these to his pay rise.

Nurses Organisation industrial adviser Glenda Alexander said the MPs’ pay rise was a hard pill to swallow after constraints were urged in the public sector.

PPTA president Kate Gainsford likewise said

…that after four years of training, teachers started on $45,000 and could rise to $68,000. She recognised that MPs worked hard but “teachers work just as hard” and had been told time and again there was “no money” for wage rises.

Public attention would be better focused on the bloody judges, who will enjoy salary increases nearly three times greater than those handed out to politicians.

The increase in judges’ salaries – 3.7 per cent back-paid to October – means an increase of between $12,000 and $16,000 for the year. That takes top-earning Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias to $453,500, while the lowest-paid judges, at the Maori Land Court, will be bumped up to $288,500.

Personally, Alf reckons these judges should be paid according to results.

Those who persistently have bad buggers locked away for several years, preferably for life, should be paid much more than the namby-pamby ones who keep giving the nation’s ratbags another chance, then slapping them with the proverbial wet bus ticket.

Keeping a check on repeat offenders and the incidence of their continuing law-breaking should come into the pay formula. Recividism can only mean that the judge who dished out a repeat offender’s previous penalty was not nearly tough enough.

Alf is sure it wouldn’t take too long with the right pay system for the streets to be cleaned up and the jails filled and for Crusher Collins to be calling for more containers to be converted to cells.

Justice all round – bad buggers getting their just deserts where it matters, by being deprived of their liberty, and judges getting their just deserts through their pay packets.

Alf imagines it was a pay incentive of this sort that encouraged Hanging Judge Jeffries to be so dilgent in ridding Britain of scum.

He presided over the “Bloody Assizes” in the autumn of 1685, you will learn at Wikipedia if you have not heard of this splendid fellow.

Harsh sentences were handed out to the Duke of Monmouth’s followers after Monmouth’s Rebellion. Nearly 200 people were hanged, and more than 800 transported to the colonies as indentured labourers (which explains the criminal inclinations of our neighbours across the Tasman).

He was nicknamed “the hanging judge”.

None of our current crop will ever earn such an accoldate, because we have been daft enough to dispense with capital punishment.

But the good ones could aspire to be known as “the jailing judge” or some such.

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