This memorandum is not part of the determination, but is intended to indicate its general effect.
Credit card charges
Clause 4 amends clause 12 of the principal determination, which currently provides that references to set amounts or costs are to be treated as including GST and credit card charges. The amendment reverses the position in relation to credit card charges, by providing that references to an amount of money or costs must be treated as not including any charge for using a credit card or purchase card.
The Authority notes that including credit card charges within the specified limits has reduced accessibility to services available to members and their families, where applicable. It requires administering departments to seek personal reimbursement from members and their families when the transaction costs exceed the specified limits because of the imposition of a credit card charge by a service provider. Having regard to section 16(1)(d) of the Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Act 2013, and the difficulties being experienced by members, their families, and administering departments, the Authority is satisfied that there are particular and special reasons that justify amending the principal determination to make this change.
Clauses 5 to 7 amend clauses 21, 26 and 40 of the principal determination. Clauses 26 and 40 relate to the provision of security services for residences of Ministers and members respectively. The base level of service for all members, including Ministers, is set in clause 40. Ministers can be provided with additional security measures arising from any recommendations in a risk and security assessment.
The Authority is concerned that in the present environment the current security provisions fall short of what is necessary to provide an adequate base level of service to residences for all members, including Ministers. The Authority also believes it is necessary to improve management of security risks for members who are not Ministers. Additional security measures for members would be appropriate following a security risk assessment, similar to that already available to Ministers.
The amendments locate all entitlements that relate to the provision of security measures in one clause: clause 40 and make a consequential change to a cross-reference. The substantive amendments provide for the following increases to the amounts payable for the base level of security service:
the maximum contribution to the cost of installing a security system at a member’s home base is increased from $850 to $2,500:
the maximum contribution to operating costs, including monitoring, repairs, and call-outs, is increased from $600 to $1,000 per annum.
The amendments also provide for additional security measures to be provided to members who are not Ministers. The measures will be provided at the home base of a member, and at a member’s continuous Wellington accommodation, if requested by the member, and to the level recommended by an official risk and security assessment.
The Authority is satisfied that in all the circumstances there are particular and special reasons that justify amending the determination to provide for these increased security measure entitlements.
The Authority does not consider that any of these changes provide an additional personal benefit, or potential personal benefit, to members.