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Political Friday: protesting too loud?

27 February 2015

Despite howls of protest (shhh... if you listen really hard you can just hear them) from politicians, the Higher Salaries Commission has forced a 5% pay increase upon them.

Universally, our MPs have been standing on podiums, decrying this increase and claiming it to be unfair and unnecessary.

"But there's nothing we can do about it, it is forced upon us" is the follow-up sentence.

Oh, how tragic that these people are forced to endure the hardship of backdated pay increases that are measured in many thousands of dollars per year. I should be so unfortunate!

Meanwhile, those on the minimum wage were roundly insulted by a paltry 50c/hour increase in their earnings -- just a 3% rise.

At first, one might be tempted to believe that our MPs truly are offended and upset by the pay rise foisted upon them - but then, if you look a little deeper, it becomes clear that in most cases, they're crying crocodile tears and laughing all the way to the bank.

How simple would it be for any or all of these MPs to set up an automatic payment that simply took the increase in their monthly stipend, and paid it to a deserving charity?

Do you think that any of them will actually do this so as to prove that they're not just a bunch of hypocrites?

Surely the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Heart Foundation or dozens of other worthy causes could put that "unwanted" money to very good use in a way that benefits all New Zealanders.

And the MPs would not go unrewarded -- the tax credit associated with such a donation would lighten their tax burden a little, thus leaving some extra coin in their pocket at the end of the day. Under this scenario -- *everybody* wins.

Perhaps, as proof of their honesty, MPs across the political spectrum should set up their own charity, into which they regularly transfer this "unwanted" pay rise.

The funds thus accumulated could be used for good works that help and assist those less fortunate than themselves who, despite maybe working two part-time jobs on the minimum wage, find it hard to make ends meet due to the way that ongoing mismanagement of the nation has made housing and food-essentials more expensive in this country than many of our economic peers.

So come on all you MPs. I call you on your claims that you didn't want this pay rise.

Let's see proof that you're donating that unwanted windfall to those who really need it.

If not then hang your heads in shame for your lies.

Here's an idea... how about we link MPs salaries to the minimum wage. By doing that, our MPs would have gotten only a 3% increase and not the 5% that was awarded them.

Make those who "have" more aware of the plight of those who "have not" by ensuring that the fate of one is reflected in the fate of the other by way of index-linked incomes.

From where I stand, the quality of government can be measured by the egalitarianism (fiscally and otherwise) of the society it creates.

What do readers think? Am I too harsh?

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