Appendix 1 — Development of MP Salaries and Allowances

Parliamentary salaries, allowances and other entitlements.

The developments below represent four distinct progressions in the nature of parliamentary pay: 32

  • from early times to the late 19th century, when MPs received an honorarium recognising that some form of payment was justified to secure the representation needed for good government, based on compensating members for being absent from their homes and ‘normal’ occupations;
  • a period up to the 1940s when payment was established as having a salary component;
  • the introduction of separate allowances in the 1940s; and
  • the period over the 1950s and up to the present day when allowances have been built up around particular purposes, creating the categories we see today.
Year Legislative authority Payment (salary / other) Allowances
1854 Parliamentary Honorarium and Privileges Act £210 honorarium per session to meet expenses, or £140 if within 3 miles of Wellington
1892 Payment of Members Act £240 per annum (salary paid monthly)
1944 Finance Act (No. 3) £500 £250 expense allowance (tax free)
1951 Civil List Act 1950 £900 £250 - £550 expense allowance
£150 sessional accommodation allowance (other than Wellington members)
Special additional allowance (a simple form of electorate allowance) introduced, with £75 - £150 paid to MPs of partly rural – predominantly rural electorates respectively
1961 Civil List Act 1950 £1,500 £350 basic expenses allowance
£20 – £325 special additional allowance £2.10s. accommodation allowance when in Wellington on Parliamentary duties
Extra allowances for Maori MPs
1964 Civil List Act 1950 £2,150 £425 basic expenses allowance
£25 - £425 special additional allowance
15s. daily allowance
£2.10s overnight allowance
1978 Higher Salaries Commission Act 1977 $18,000 $4,600 basic expenses allowance
$475 - $5,400 special additional allowance
$8 daily allowance
$20 night allowance

32: von Tunzelmann, Adrienne (1985), Membership of the New Zealand Parliament – A study of conditions 1854-1978.

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