This morning the DomPost ran an article by Tracy Watkins about several ministers misusing their ministerial credit cards for personal entertainment. They obtained the information by doing OIAs (Official Information Act requests). Now I’ve come to expect that NACT ministers will do (in John Keys words) “stupid” things in office. But what I found significant was that John Key appears to have discovered the use of a new word “disappointment”. This is a major advance for the NACT political vocabulary.
Previously he has been known to extensively use the word “relaxed” about most of the antics that his ministers get up to. However he has been known to use the word “concerned” on very special occasions – most notably when Richard Worth left office and eventually parliament for unknown reasons.
However we appear to be entering a new epoch where the Prime Minister is taking his duties to the country more seriously. He is now “disappointed” in the behaviour of his ministers using credit cards provided by taxpayers to pay for drinks and lunch. However since I think that he is in charge of his ministers, perhaps he should start getting disappointed in his own performance as well.
Labour leader Phil Goff said the improper use of the cards and the failure of Ministerial Services to challenge questionable spending indicated bad management by Mr Key.
“You can’t use your government credit card to buy wine for your National Party mates and put it on the governments bill. That’s quite clearly improper. John Key promised high standards from his administration. He now needs to deliver on that.”
Indeed…… Speaking of that copyrighted phrase, it will be interesting watching DPF spin this on behalf of the government.
The ministers in trouble are Phil Heatley the housing minister, and Gerry Brownlee, the minister in charge of mining conservation lands and large lunches. Gerry has surrendered his credit card, which will be a great relief to all taxpayers.
But it is good to see our current Prime Minister slowly expanding his vocabulary. Soon he may be able to articulate what he means for some of his great ideas in documents longer than small slogans like “3000 jobs from cycleway” and “north of fifty dollars a week in tax cuts” so we will be in a position to evaluate how well he is doing his job. But in reality one shouldn’t expect so much from our clueless prime minister.