Labour MP Greg O'Connor slammed for complaining about pay cut

Labour MP Greg O'Connor has come under fire for a Facebook post complaining about getting a pay cut the same week his car broke down.

In the Saturday night post, which has since been deleted, the MP for Ōhāriu said his car 'Little Red' had "decided he had done his bit for the week and needed time in the hospital".

"It was a bad week to get a 10 percent MP pay cut as those hospital stays aren't cheap," the former president of the New Zealand Police Association wrote, with a picture of 'Little Red' - a 1974 Austin 1300 - on the back of a truck. 

"AA is a great investment," he added.

O'Connor's post.
O'Connor's post. Photo credit: Facebook

National MP Chris Bishop shared the post with his followers on Facebook, just saying: "Wow."

"Greg O'Connor really is here having a whinge about the tiny drop in his six-figure salary in these uncertain economic times," one person tweeted, with a screenshot of the post.

"My MP - what an absolute slimeball. Vote him out, Ohariu!" said a second.

On O'Connor's own Facebook page, people posted screenshots of the deleted post, one user calling the vehicle a "bucket of shit" and calling O'Connor a "wanker". 

One person did come to O'Connor's defence on Bishop's page, saying it "sounds like he was making a joke, not moaning".

As a first-term MP without any ministerial portfolios, O'Connor is paid a base rate of $163,961 a year, about three times the median annual income according to Statistics NZ. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier this year asked the Remuneration Authority to cut ministers' pay by 20 percent. Other MPs - including O'Connor - took a 10 percent pay cut, which kicked in this month.

Unemployment is on the rise thanks to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment tipped to more than double from its March figure of 4.2 percent. Many other employees only managed to keep their jobs by taking voluntary pay cuts or having their employer draw on the wage subsidy. 

ACT leader David Seymour told Newshub O'Connor's pay cut should have been 20 percent, not 10, calling it "pathetic" - saying he was donating another 10 percent of his salary to charity.

O'Connor did not respond to Newshub's request for a response on Sunday morning.