Many of the elderly once worked for government departments/businesses, such as NZPO, NAC/Air NZ, NZ Railways, taking lower wages for job security. In recognition of staff loyalty, they would receive retirement perks, eg, half-telephone rental, free tolls for NZPO staff, free or heavily discounted travel for railways or airline staff. These perks were extended to retiring MPs, who were also considered government employees.
Despite public protests, MPs have sold off those businesses and all staff who worked for those businesses had their perks cancelled, because they were no longer owned by us. However, we hear MPs continue to have these perks, even though it is now a direct cost to the taxpayer, as was pointed out when staff perks were cancelled.
We also read that MPs’ superannuation is calculated on the highest-paid job the MP ever held, even if only PM for a day. No other person receives such a generously calculated superannuation package. Superannuation is calculated on contributions, some $1 for $1 employee/ employer. We estimate billions of dollars are going to retired MPs who have served the required nine years. This is whilst we have 150,000 children living in poverty, and 45,000 homeless people. There are no figures for the elderly living in poverty. The minimum wage is $15.75/hour and superannuation is approximately half that.
These anomalies must be addressed immediately, and all perks pertaining to previously owned government departments, if still given, must be cancelled. Those retired MPs who perpetrated our assets being sold, should show some honour and immediately refuse these perks. A commission should be appointed to find out the value of these ‘‘benefits’’ and they must repay them as well – a little like benefit fraud maybe? The commission’s terms of inquiry also needs to include the way MPs’ superannuation is calculated, and bring it in line. It is not surprising MPs have a feeling of entitlement and ignore their constituents’ human rights.
Beverley Aldridge/Kathleen Pattinson
Otamatea Grey Power
funding to so many beneficial groups that would have helped the poor, sick and homeless children, and continue to do so. Remember the cuts to youth phone lines. The cuts to mental health organisations. The selling and running down of state housing. Cuts to Plunket’s ‘‘Parents as first teachers’’ are all examples of their empty promises and lack of interest in the real world of children.