I love that, after studiously ignoring Bill English’s housing rort, Farrar’s now got unending questions for the Greens. Pretty desperate stuff too – ‘sure, you paid the money back of your own accord after you yourselves discovered you had over-claimed but why did it take so long? huh?! huh?!’.
Hilariously, he claims that the superannuation fund owning the houses and renting them to three MPs maximises the amount claimed because the rent would exceed the mortgage payments that could be claimed if the MPs owned the properties directly. Umm, most rents are negatively geared these days, David – mortgage payments are more than the rent.
Anyway, the MPs are only temporary tenants of that properties that will be owned in the interests of a larger group of MPs for a long period. If an MP bought a property, put it in a trust and rented it themselves from the trust at more than market rates, that would be a rort – that’s not what the Greens do.
The Greens made a simple bookkeeping mistake which they corrected when they discovered it.
Bill English, in contrast, claimed an allowance he wasn’t entitled to. Bill’s not in trouble because of perception. He’s in trouble for unrepentantly and intentionally ripping us off by lying about where his primary place of residence is so he could get money that wasn’t for him.
It would be nice if we could try to apply the same standards here. The tests, I think, should be:
Basically, did they do wrong, did they mean to do wrong, do they admit they did wrong, and did they try to fix it? It’s quite clear that English fails on all these points and the Greens do not.