Todd Barclay's holiday won't result in law change - Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern has no plans to tighten up MPs' perks, despite Todd Barclay's paid summer holiday in sunny southern Europe.

Mr Barclay announced three months before the election he would not stand for re-election in his Clutha-Southland seat, in the wake of his employee recording scandal.

But because he didn't resign, not only did he remain an MP on full pay until the election in September, he's still getting paid - until December 23, in fact. All up he's pocketing $80,000.

Speaking to The AM Show on Monday, the Prime Minister said the three months' pay is meant to give MPs who suddenly lose their jobs in an election time to find other employment.

"When it comes to Todd, as I say, he's an example where people will of course be shaking their heads - but there are other examples - marginal seat, tight loss - there will be other areas where you will sometimes see some bridging that exists," Ms Ardern said.

While Mr Barclay should have shown "more discretion", Ms Ardern says the Government won't be pushing for a change to the rules, which are set by the independent Remuneration Authority.

"For a very good reason we have always kept separate who deals with MPs' pay terms and conditions. I want to keep that separation.

"I do not want to interfere in something, that on the flipside people would be appalled if I interfered in the other direction. I want that separation."

Taxpayers' Union spokesman Jordan Williams says Mr Barclay isn't the only offender when it comes to milking the taxpayer - he's also taking aim at long-standing MPs who retired gracefully such as Peter Dunne, who get even more than just a few months' pay.

"You could make the argument for MPs that re-stand and don't expect to lose, and suddenly find themselves needing to find a new job - you could make that argument maybe," he told AM Show host Duncan Garner.

"But for these MPs where they're not re-standing, this is just a rort."

Mr Dunne, an MP for more than 30 years, gets the same three months' pay as Mr Barclay, free international travel and benefits from a very generous pension plan. He was planning to contest his Ohariu electorate but pulled out when polls showed he was heading for a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Labour's Greg O'Connor.

Mr Williams says the "buck stops with" Ms Ardern.

"What other fixed-term contract job do you get a $40,000 golden handshake at the end?"

Ms Ardern said Labour has sent "strong signals" to the Remuneration Authority in the past about MPs' perks and entitlements. Mr Barclay said there was "a bit of tinkering" in the right direction by the previous National Government, but overall it was "pretty unsatisfactory".

He also suggests anyone earning what an MP does shouldn't need three months' more pay to get by.

"Todd Barclay was the lowest of the low, but still earning $160,000, $170,000 per year. Most New Zealanders would consider that a very good pay rate."