parliamentary spending

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Everything Should Be Made As Uncomfortable As Possible, But No Less Comfortable

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, April 24th, 2019 - 26 comments

When providing a voluntary carbon-offset scheme, make it as simple as possible, but not simpler, and tell people about it.

Ross saga quiescent, but donations scandal needs addressing

Written By: - Date published: 4:26 pm, October 25th, 2018 - 21 comments

The Jami-Lee Ross scandal may have quietened down but issues raised by his explosive tape recording of Simon Bridges still need addressing. Does the $100k Zhang Yikun donation suggest we are going down the US track and, if so, what needs to be done about that

The Budget

Written By: - Date published: 2:09 pm, May 17th, 2018 - 168 comments

An evolving post to cover budget announcements.

The Labour lite budget

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, May 25th, 2017 - 25 comments

From pre announced budget initiatives it is clear that today’s budget will provide National the opportunity to announce watered down insipid versions of current Labour Party policies.

New Parliament buildings

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, November 29th, 2016 - 24 comments

A couple of reactions to the $100m Parliament building plans.

Treachery and silly season political snippets

Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, December 23rd, 2015 - 61 comments

There’s still a few MPs “on duty”. Their function is to maintain the semblance of active government and to roll out a bunch of announcements they hope will escape full scrutiny.

Wallowing in extravagance

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, October 23rd, 2015 - 16 comments

“Wallowing in extravagance” is how Labour described the latest news of extreme spending from Steven Joyce’s MBIE.

Warner Bros – corporate welfare beneficiary

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, September 9th, 2015 - 63 comments

Figures have been released showing that Warner Bros were paid NZ $191 million in tax rebates to create the Hobbit Trilogy.  The films were very profitable.  Why is corporate welfare for profitable activity tolerated?

Sky City’s playing us for suckers

Written By: - Date published: 8:14 pm, February 10th, 2015 - 86 comments

Sky City crying too poor to build a bigger casino – give us a break, please!  Casino expert Sudhir Kale estimated the extra pokies gained by Sky  to be worth $35million over figures used by government. That’s for year upon year to 2048. It could cover any casino upgrade in four years. Either Joyce and Key are being played for suckers, or they are playing the rest of us for suckers. The deal stinks.

Polity: News from National Comms!

Written By: - Date published: 2:50 pm, June 13th, 2014 - 40 comments

Rob Salmond at Polity on what has landed in his mail box paid for by your GST and also close to the wrong side the permissible limits of Parliamentary Services funds. Or perhaps this is something for “NZ Taxpayers Union” to moan about wasting taxpayers money with. They won’t of course because they seem to be good little front organisation for Act and Jordan Williams appears to have about as much independence as their beloved slaves. But if you received one, then a complaint seems in order.

Reef piranha

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, December 22nd, 2013 - 42 comments

Today’s Herald editorial gets one thing right – a media pack has turned on Len Brown. But it’s not gutsy journalism – it comes straight out of the Rupert Murdoch playbook. Len’s latest sin is his upgrades – EY says  they total  $32,000 for 64 occasions. That’s $500 an upgrade, which seems  a lot on top of what Len paid. The report does not detail how this total was arrived at, and I cannot find any example of any journalist asking questions about it.

Cameron Slater: So who pays who?

Written By: - Date published: 4:19 pm, December 12th, 2013 - 203 comments

Looks like John Key’s communications boss Jason Ede has been busted supplying material for the most disgusting site in local politics – Whaleoil. It has long been suspected that he supplies material and possibly even writes for that site as part National’s dirty tricks team. Looks like we have some confirmation. So how much is the taxpayer paying for this public servant to blog and does he do it for his job? How much does Cameron Slater “demand” from the taxpayer to provide this service?

Wishing Chris Carter well

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, September 8th, 2011 - 23 comments

Chris Carter’s egocentric valedictory earlier this week didn’t exactly cover him in glory. Whether it should ever have gotten to this point is another matter. It’s interesting to review the evolving views of Standard authors on the issue. Did Carter do this to himself or did mismanagement from the leadership escalate the situation?This guest post takes the second view.

Nat websites publicly-funded

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, June 16th, 2011 - 30 comments

Ianupnorth does ‘the Whale’ and has a dig around the National Party websites. It turns out they are registered and run by Parliamentary staffers. In fact, National and ACT’s MPs’ sites are all publicly-funded, while other parties’ MPs’ are not. Is NACT breaking the rules? No doubt everyone’s least favourite cetacean will be on to it.

Leader repays chopper flights

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 am, June 3rd, 2011 - 13 comments

After intense criticism for using government-owned helicopters for personal trips, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has reimbursed the state for the cost of the flights. I look forward to John Key following Christie’s lead and repaying us for his flights to watch the V8s in Hamilton.

Saying a lot while saying very little

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, May 6th, 2011 - 13 comments

The out of touchness, she burns! In a few short replies, the Nats said so much this week. The stories of perk abuse have been rolling out almost too fast, in fact. Each needs following up, each minister needs to be hounded, but there are so many targets. The galling thing is in a fortnight the Nats will tell us ‘everyone has to tighten their belts’.

A-G sure to launch Wong probe

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, December 10th, 2010 - 11 comments

The Auditor-General seems certain to launch an  investigation into the Wongs’ taxpayer-funded travel as even more  evidence shows the Parliamentary report isn’t worth the paper it’s  written on. A majority of Kiwis want her to resign. Why John Key hasn’t already called on the A-G to investigate, as he did  with Phil Heatley, is beyond me.

Labour and Greens lead on transparency

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, November 3rd, 2010 - 10 comments

Last week Speaker Lockwood Smith rolled back transparency on MPs expenses, by making travel spending secret again.  John Key came out “against” the move.  Yesterday Labour and the Greens called his bluff by releasing their details.  Over to you John, once again you’re too late to lead, but you can still follow…

The reverse midas touch

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, July 4th, 2010 - 7 comments

David Farrar leapt to a “they did it too” defence of the taxpayer-funded ‘survey’ that National MPs are sending to selected voters around the country. I reckon he wrote the questions. It was Farrar’s dodgy polling that convinced National to run Melissa Lee as the candidate in Mt Albert. I guess Lee getting caught out with a dodgy ‘survey’ is just Farrar’s reverse midas touch striking again.

Nats push-polling on your dime?

Written By: - Date published: 1:19 am, July 1st, 2010 - 58 comments

A reader sent us these images of an addressed ‘survey’ he received in the mail from Melissa Lee. It makes interesting reading because it’s not actually an attempt to gather our opinions to inform National’s policies. It’s a cynical attempt to influence our views while pretending to care what we think. And the Nats are using our money to fund it.

Credit card scandals & false economies

Written By: - Date published: 11:02 am, June 23rd, 2010 - 90 comments

It is good to cast light on ministers putting personal spending on the taxpayer but the media is attacking legitimate spending too. As a result, MPs are being prevented from doing their jobs properly for fear of appearing profligate. Is this the desired effect of the chill wind blowing from the media on our representatives’ expenses, that even John Key warned about?

Questions mount on PEDA

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 am, June 16th, 2010 - 45 comments

Details on PEDA are still very thin but it is increasingly looking like public money has been hijacked to help the political prospects of National’s Pacific Islanders. The service delivery aspect of the Pacific Island Affairs Ministry seems set to be turned over to this private organisation. The lack of honest answers from the minister only deepens the suspicion that something very dodgy is afoot.

English, Guy, Groser, McCully, & Smith to follow Jones, Carter & Ririnui?

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 pm, June 13th, 2010 - 142 comments

Phil Goff is back in the country and, as predicted, his first move is going to be to take their portfolios off Shane Jones, Chris Carter, and, probably, Mita Ririnui for their misuse of their credit cards. The attention will now turn to the abuses of those who haven’t been punished for their wasteful and greedy use of public money – Tim Groser, Murray McCully, Nathan Guy, Nick Smith, and Bill English. Updated

Credit card records released

Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, June 10th, 2010 - 179 comments

The credit card records of the ex-Labour ministers are out. Phil Goff has made it clear that any money claimed outside the rules must be repaid and some wrongful claims were paid back at the time. The test the Auditor-General set after Phil Heatley’s bizarre resignation over $70 worth of wine is whether claims intentionally breach the rules.

Key’s ministers still at the trough

Written By: - Date published: 9:25 am, May 5th, 2010 - 26 comments

You’ll remember how Bill ‘Double Dipton’ English was caught claiming the out of town allowance for living in his family home in Wellington. As a half-arsed solution, out of town ministers are now limited to claiming $37,500 a year for their Wellington accommodation. So, how come eight ministers are still claiming far more than that?

Paying MPs’ court costs

Written By: - Date published: 11:23 am, April 7th, 2010 - 22 comments

I don’t have a problem with MPs being able to get public funding for court cases arising from their professional activities. You wouldn’t expect private sector employees who are taken to court over their actions in their job to be forced to pay their own way. But what a sense of entitlement Gerry Brownlee has.

Heatley: Not a crook, an idiot

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, March 31st, 2010 - 26 comments

The Auditor-General has found that Phil Heatley wrongly bought $1,402 worth of private goods and services on his ministerial and MP tabs. That’s OK according to the PM because Heatley didn’t intend to break the rules. Well, I guess that’s OK then. Of course, you have to assume that Heatley is a total idiot in that case.

Legitimate spending vs rorts

Written By: - Date published: 10:33 am, March 5th, 2010 - 32 comments

It’s pretty rare that I agree with John Key but he got it right when he voiced concern that journalists are attacking MPs for legitimately using their budgets to do their jobs. Do we really want to force parties to rely on private funding for communicating their positions? That makes politics a rich man’s game. There are plenty of actual rip-offs and rorts for the media to root out.

Axe the tax

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, March 2nd, 2010 - 60 comments

Labour’s ‘Axe the Tax’ campaign has hit the road. Phil Goff is travelling around New Zealand explaining why Labour opposes National’s plan to hike GST on everyone to pay for tax cuts that will primarily go to the well-off. National are worried. They’re not promoting their package anymore, they’re lashing out at Goff.

High ministerial standards

Written By: - Date published: 6:54 pm, February 27th, 2010 - 13 comments

 No, it’s not one of the Nats or their hangers-on. It’s Shane Jones. Following revelations that National ministers have been essentially stealing taxpayer money by using their ministerial credit cards for prohibited purchases, Jones has recounted an incident from his time as a minister. When Jones was Building Minister in 2008 he hosted a dinner […]

Heatley’s redherring cover for Brownlee

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, February 27th, 2010 - 20 comments

Fran O’Sullivan agrees with my theory on the real reason for Phil Heatley’s resignation and the reason why an excuse was invented. The real reason was what amounts to Heatley’s theft of taxpayer money by using his ministerial credit card, and the receipt excuse was invented to protect Gerry Brownlee who had also misused his credit card

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago

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