Monday, May 07, 2012


Over the weekend, the Dominion-Post revealed how much we were paying every year in annuities to former Prime Ministers. This has led to predictable public outrage, and calls from the Greens for these annuities to be scrapped.

I'm not sure that this is such a good idea. If you've watched the latest season of "Sons of Anarchy", you'll be aware of the dangers of running an organisation without an active retirement plan. Making no provision for Prime Ministers when they leave office could lead to them franticly stuffing their pockets in a desperate attempt to ensure they have enough for their retirement. Which means more corruption and less trust in politics. The annuities are one way of preventing that.

OTOH, MPs already have a generous retirement package. If Prime Ministers want to take care of themselves, they can - with the taxpayer picking up the majority of the tab. And with their Wellington living expenses taken care of, its not as if they have anything else to spend their fat salary on.

But again, I'm drawn back to the UK example from the other day. They're actually asking people what they think MPs and Ministers should be paid, and having the conversation in public rather than it just being a shoddy deal stitched up by a self-interested elite. We could do a lot worse than follow their example.