A handover of control of politicians' allowances and expenses to the Remuneration Authority has broad support across Parliament - but some are balking at losing control of all the funding entitlements.
A Law Commission report yesterday recommended ending the days of MPs setting their own entitlements for travel, accommodation and office costs and instead handing the job over to the Remuneration Authority.
Prime Minister John Key moved almost immediately to take up the recommendation, saying he hoped to introduce legislation early next year and pass it by the end of the year.
"My view is that ever since the scandal in the United Kingdom around MPs' expenses, this has been an inevitable move. Parliament needs to get into the 21st century."
In politics, perception is everything. And there is a widely-held perception, whether accurate or not, that our MP's have set themselves up with a cozy little system from which they benefit.
That may or may not be fair, depending on one's outlook on such things. We can still remember what must rate as one of the lowest moments in the history of our Parliament when the House, sitting under urgency in the dark of night spent just a few moments passing legislation giving themselves a gilt-edged superannuation scheme. It was one of those rare moments when Parliament was united, but for all the wrong reasons. Such an outrage must never happen again.
Most MP's do a very good job, and the bulk of their work does not attract publicity. They deserve to be compensated for the long hours, and the demands that a public life places on families. But they also need to realise that it is OUR money that they are spending, and with the expenditure of public money comes a much higher level of accountability. Taking away the decisionmaking in this area from MP's themselves and giving it to an independant authority is, in our opinion, a very sound move.