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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Payment of Members

In New Zealand payment of members first took the form of allowances under the Appropriations Act of 1870. This procedure continued until 1884 when the provisions were embodied in the Parliamentary Honorarium and Privileges Act, amended in 1887 to vary the basis of the allowance. In 1892 the Payment of Members Act provided for an annual sum in lieu of an allowance. Since the Civil List Act of 1950 salaries and allowances have been fixed by Order-in-Council on recommendation of a Royal Commission. An amending Act in 1955 provided that a Royal Commission for this purpose be set up within three months after every general election. Under the current (1964) Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Order, the Prime Minister has a salary of £5,750 and a tax-free allowance of £1,600. Ministers holding a portfolio have a salary of £4,000 and an allowance of ££550. Ministers without portfolios receive £3,250 salary and an allowance of 450. The Speaker's salary is £3,400 and his allowance is £425. The salary of ordinary members is £2,150 and they have an allowance of between £450 and 725, depending on the classification of the electorate from urban to rural. Other payments and financially valuable privileges in connection with official duties, accommodation in Wellington while Parliament is in session, and travel are also received by members. There are certain deductions for non-attendance.

Superannuation Scheme for Members

A contributory superannuation scheme for members was introduced in 1947. The scheme now provides for a minimum retirement allowance of £350 for a member who has served for the whole of three Parliaments. This is increased by £50 per annum for each year of additional service, rising to a maximum of £700 per annum after 15 years' service. An ex-member must be 50 years of age before he qualifies. The widow of a member is entitled to an annuity of two-thirds of the retiring allowance to which her husband was entitled at the time of his death.

Royal Commission on Parliamentary Salaries, 1964

The 1964 Commisson on Parliamentary Salaries has presented its report, and the recommendations are set out in the table below. Apart from recommending a substantial salary increase all round, the report included a number of important innovations, such as the addition of the Ombudsman to the parliamentary salaries' group; provision of a pension (maximum £1,000 per annum) for former Prime Ministers who have served two years in that office, together with a special provision for their widows. Travelling allowances for Ministers' wives have been liberalised and more clearly defined. Both the Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition have had their travelling allowances extended and brought into line with those of the Ministers. In the table below, “salaries” are subject to the normal social security and income taxes while “allowances” are tax free. Although the parliamentary salaries and allowances are subject to annual appropriation, they do not appear as a single group in the Estimates. The “salaries” group appears as a permanent appropriation under the Civil List Act of 1950. Most of the travelling allowances authorised by this Act, together with such items as ministerial staff, private secretaries, and some special or extra allowances, appear on the Ministerial Division of the Internal Affairs Estimates. Travelling allowances of the Governor-General, and the expenses previously covered by this “allowance” and “extra allowance” are shown on the Miscellaneous Services Division of the Internal Affairs Estimates, while the upkeep and maintenance of the two Government Houses are included in the Public Buildings Division of the Ministry of Works Estimates. The Legislative Department Estimates cover the members' and members' wives travelling allowances, as well as most of the minor items — postage stamps, special telegram rates, Speaker's and Leader of the Opposition's car hire, and railway concessions for members' families.

Royal Commission Personnel

The following Commissioners have served since 1950, when the scheme was instituted:

1951 Sir A. T. Donnelly, K.B.E., C.M.G. (Chairman)
J. H. Boyes, C.M.G. (Member)
W. E. Barnard (Member)
1955 W. E. Barnard (Chairman)
J. H. Boyes, C.M.G. (Member)
C. V. Smith, C.B.E. (KT. 1964) (Member)
1959 R. McKeen (Chairman)
Sir M. H. Oram, KT., M.B.E. (Member)
C. V. Smith, C.B.E. (Member)
1961 E. D. Blundell, O.B.E. (Chairman)
G. T. Bolt, C.M.G. (Member)
J. Andrew, C.B.E. (Member)
1964 E. D. Blundell, O.B.E. (Chairman)
G. T. Bolt, C.M.G. (Member)
Sir J. Andrew, K.B.E. (Member)