Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Law Commission on perks

The Law Commission has released its Review of the Civil List Act – Members of Parliament and Ministers [PDF], and recommended a complete reform of the system. Instead of MPs setting their own perks, they recommended that all salaries, allowances, and expenses be set by an independent body, an upgraded Remuneration Commission. And instead of it being done in secret, they recommend opening Parliament to the OIA, so the public and media can provide oversight and scrutiny. The overall aim is "clarity, transparency, and independence" - the absence of which "has a corroding effect on public confidence in the integrity of democracy in New Zealand". I'd like to think that this time, Parliament would get the message, put their screaming self-interest aside, and restore that confidence - but their past record on this doesn't give me much confidence. But if they reject these proposals, they will again earn that reputation, and have no-one but themselves to blame for the fact that the public regards them as lower than dogshit.