Perk anom­alies

Waikato Times - - COMMENT&OPINION -

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.

Frankie Let­ford

Hamil­ton

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