Auckland, Aug 21: In a shock move, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday announced that her government would be freezing the pay hike of Member of Parliaments. The move, she claimed, is aimed at curbing the rich-poor divide and make New Zealand a more equitable society.
The decision received cross-party support, with members of the prime opposition National Party extending support. Analysts claim the halt in MPs' salary hike will also boost the image of Ardern, portraying her as an altruistic leader.
The freeze on pay increase comes days after 29,000 primary school teachers resigned from their jobs citing stagnant wages, among other reasons.
While speaking to media, Ardern said her decision is "right" as it comes at a time when a large section of the nation's workforce is facing the brunt of slow wage growth.
The salary hike has been stalled till at least July 2019, Ardern announced, further adding that subsequent hikes would be decided on the basis of how the wages of an average New Zealander increases on yearly basis.
Under the incumbent module of MPs' salary hike, the pay was increased by nearly 3 per cent per annum.
Here's a Look at MPs' Salaries Vis-a-Vis Wages of Workers, Teachers & Others:
An MP in New Zealand, based upon the duties assigned to him by the Parliament, draws an annual income between NZ$163,000 ($108,000) to more than NZ$450,000 ($300,000).
The average salary of non-cabinet ministers, excluding allowances, is approximately $288,900, according to a report in the Stuff. This is nearly $200,00 more than what an average worker earns per annum. Below is a sector-wise comparison:
Below is the designation-wise comparison:
As per the statistics sources from the Stuff, no industry's average pay comes close to that of a Member of Parliament. The distant second in the race is the mining sector, where an average of $116,012 has been recorded.