Thursday, August 13, 2009

More on Graham

In the Herald this morning, former Cabinet Minister Doug Graham claimed that he left Parliament with "hardly any money". So what was he entitled to?

Up until 1992, MPs were covered by a special provision of the Government Superannuation Scheme, which rewarded them with two-thirds of an MP's salary after twenty years of service (four times the rate paid to actual public servants). The exact formula is here, and under it, Graham would have been entitled to a pension of 50% of $83,000 - or $41,500 a year, in perpetuity. In 1999, that would have put him in the top quintile of taxpayers; its currently about twice the median income. Not rolling in it, but its certainly not penury; the majority of New Zealanders cope on less. Which makes it a pretty strange definition of "hardly any money", neh? But I guess there's nothing like 15 years as an MP and 9 as a Cabinet Minister to distort your perspective on wealth...