Double standards

Written By: - Date published: 1:52 pm, August 2nd, 2009 - 45 comments
Categories: corruption, national/act government - Tags: ,

none for youPaula Bennett has claimed nearly $22,000 in six months for her Wellington accommodation. That’s more, just for a second home Bennett uses maybe half the time, than Natahsa Fuller whose personal details she illegally released in a effort to embarrass her into silence gets in total to raise her three daughters – two of whom have chronic medical conditions.


Also. I hear that although Bennett is claiming nearly $1000 a week in rent, she has at least one flat mate in her place in Thorndon. What kind of shared flat costs that much to rent? Even a two bedroom place in the exclusive Kate Sheppard Apartments just across from Parliament is only $640 a week.

[Five Nats claimed over $20,000 for six months for their secondary accommodation in Wellington. For comparison, the highest claim from a non Nat MP is $12,034 from David Parker]

45 comments on “Double standards”

  1. bill brown 1

    Probably one of her gang mates is living there on a peppercorn with the rest picked up by the taxpayer.

    Time we got all the facts on the table about this one.

  2. Edosan 2

    Oh but you know, being a Minister is such a hard job and so forth.

  3. ALIX 3

    GO TO-

    Government have stalled my emails. Check tonight before the email address closes.
    Download information- Do not publish any information.
    But beware of the MEAnz cover-up.

  4. You can’t really say “illegally.” Unless there has already been a complaint recognised and declared that it was an illegal act.

    It was ministry info which Bennett released so you could question whether or not it is a breach of the privacy act.
    (Not that whether or not it’s legal makes that act any nastier than it already is)

  5. RedLogix 5

    Marty you’re one of The Standard’s best informed contributors, but are you sure she has a flatmate?

    A quick scan of Trademe in this price bracket has only large 4 or 5 bedroom houses in the $1000 pw bracket.

    If she’s sharing then even $600pw is stretching it. Tell me this isn’t true.

    • bill brown 5.1

      If she hasn’t got a flatmate, what’s she need 4 or 5 bedrooms for – her inflated ego?

    • Marty G 5.2

      she certainly has at least one flatmate (I know of one that just moved out in the last week or so and was there during the period in question). I find it hard to believe that the rent could be astronomical enough to justify $700 a week for rent plus the $200 for housing expenses because the newly ex-flattie was not on sufficient income. Also, there’s nowhere in the Molesworth quarter of Thorndon where Bennett’s flat is that I know of that could justify such a price.

  6. Jared 6

    If only expenses for the Labour Party when they were in power were disclosed, we might have a bit of balance in this debate.

    • QoT 6.1

      … You are aware that *all* MPs’ expenses just got disclosed, right?

    • Armchair Critic 6.2

      That would just be a diversion from the real issue. What other blogs refer to as “troughing” is wrong and can not be justified by saying “but the others used to do it”. It is wrong, whoever is doing it.

  7. Ianmac 7

    A decade or so there were several MP’s sharing a flat in Wellington. Can’t remember who but I wonder if each claimed the “rent” ? I wonder if any are doing so now. Rent for a good 3- bedroom house say $600pw. 3 claim rent of say $800 each which gives profit $1800pw or profit of $96,300 per year split 3 ways.
    I wonder how many MP’s share the same address? Hypothetical of course.

    • Marty G 7.1

      I understand that Lockwood and Winston used to flat together in the old days. And Cullen was staying with Annette King, I think it was, after moving out of his ministerial home before retiring.

  8. Tim Ellis 8

    Greedy nats, huh? Do you know if Ms Bennett’s apartment costs were higher than Steve Maharey’s, Pete Hodgson’s, or Michael Cullen’s ministerial accommodation in Wellington came to? How about Mr Goff’s or Mr Anderton’s?

    Careful Marty, you might be accused of hypocrisy here. Oh, that’s right. The figures were never released under a Labour government, so we don’t know how much they were costing us. Good to see you using it to attack Paula Bennet, though. It appears her only real office was taking a safe labour seat away from Labour at the last election.

    • Marty G 8.1

      No, the offence is claiming an improbable amount of money for a shared flat she sues part-time while publicly humiliating two women for their smaller entitlements on which they have to live and raise their children.

  9. Mark M 9

    In case it has escaped your intention Marty G David , Parker is not a Cabinet Minister nor is he in Government so any comparison with Ms Bennett is not particularly relevant
    People might take you more seriously if you gave comparisons with previous Ministers , but of course that woulld give a balance to your posts which is sadly lacking

    • Marty G 9.1

      As you know, this is the first year that information on MPs’ expenses has been published, thanks to the work of the Greens

    • Rex Widerstrom 9.2

      The allowance is paid to MPs regardless of their status, recognising the fact it costs X amount to live in Wellington. It’d hardly be different for a Minister – do they occupy twice the space, like some sort of black hole?

      You do raise a good point though. Ministers used to get given Ministerial houses (though a flat across from Parliament was good enough for Lange when he was PM). What’s happened to those? Surely Bennett ought to be in a house which would (aside from upkeep) cost the taxpayer a lot less and house her in the style to which she has clearly become well accustomed.

      • Marty G 9.2.1

        there are only a few ministerial houses (I’m willing to bet National sold the others 🙂 ). Ministers have a higher cap on the amount of rent they can claim than MPs ($24,000 for MPs, $48,000 for ministers including utilities and upkeep). The higher amount is meant to recognise that ministers spend more time in Wellington and need a homely home, somewhere their family can live.

        Those allowances are arguably very high but it’s not that so much that’s the problem. The issues are

        English claiming the out of town allowance on a house he owns with his wife, when the family is really actually based in Wellington.

        Bennett claiming such a large amount that it seems impossible she actually pays such large costs, given she lives in a flat and has a flatmate. And her hypocrisy in attacking those women when she is sucking harder on the public teat for a place she will barely use than they do to raise their families.

  10. vto 10

    What is the hypocrisy marty, you haven’t explained?

    There may well be an issue with the amount being paid for rental accommodation in Wgtn, but how does that link to how much the “poster girls” get? Or are you following your recent m.o and making yet another purely speculative jump by some invisible means from one set of figures to another.

    • Marty G 10.1

      you don’t think it’s hypocritical to release those women’s information so that every bigoted reactionary in the country will be calling them bludgers when she herself is getting more from the state for a flat?

      • vto 10.1.1

        Whether or not it is more money is completely irrelevant. I do despair at your reasoning sometimes…

        What is a fair question though is whether or not the amount Bennett gets for her Wellington housing is fair and justified for someone holding that office in NZ. Just as it was with the poster girls and their own circumstances.

        Is Bennett hiding from any of this? I can only see hypocrisy if Bennett was accepting more than what is fair and justified for someone holding that office in NZ.

        But it is a close call and I am just being the nit-picking devils advocate. It is good that this exposure has arisen.

        • Ari

          I think “fair” is the point. MPs shouldn’t be claiming accommodation entitlements for more than they actually need to pay to rent accommodation, and they shouldn’t be claiming them for their own houses.

          Frankly I think the expenses of the two beneficiaries are irrelevant- Paula was unethical to even release those details in the first place.

          edit: And before someone asks, yes, I have a problem with the Green Party buying their own accommodation with their retirement fund and then renting it back from themselves using the accommodation entitlements.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Personally, I think there should be a decent, publicly owned apartment building where the politicians can stay while in Wellington. It’s got to be cheaper than paying for private accommodation.

            • Ari

              Indeed. Replacing the accommodation entitlement with that would solve most of the expenses rorts.

          • SPC

            Whereas I do not Ari, if not renting to their own MP’s they would be renting to others. And their MP’s claiming their rent expenses for renting elsewhere.

            • Ari

              I think they’d be investing in something else if they weren’t charging high rents to their parliamentary tenants.

            • SPC

              Ari is it true that the Greens are charging higher than market rents to their MP’s, or are you just assuming that?

          • vto

            Really Ari re the Greens residential rental property portfolio?

            If so then that is classic. Socialists are always the biggest capitalists given half a chance. Castigate the system and then rort it for all its worth. Double standards and hypocrisy from here to eternity – how apt on this thread.

            Why do the shenanagins in Wgtn never fail to surprise? (and on here too for that matter…)

  11. bill brown 11

    Conference over then

  12. outofbed 12

    I see Dpf is stated the spin over at the sewer
    Run a few lines see what the attack lines are and then spin some more

  13. TightyRighty 13

    funny how marty thinks everyone he accuses of hypocrisy should answer the question directly, when it’s implied that marty is maybe being precious or hypocritical, the question gets ignored or brushed off. now thats hypocrisy.

  14. Westminster 14

    No. 1 Bennett-ficiary!

  15. SPC 15

    In the real world, outside the bubble where people write rules to suit themselves, people have caps on the amounts of money they can claim for accomodation or otherwise they receive the supplement only meeting a proportion of the cost (to place downward pressure on their housing ambition) and even then the first part of the cost they are expected to meet out of their own income.

    Also is this expenses money regarded as income and taxed like it would be for other people?

    • Ari 15.1

      No, the entitlements aren’t taxed. This is presumably because initially the job didn’t pay very well so it seemed daft to tax entitlements that were basically designed to stop you going broke serving the country.

      • SPC 15.1.1

        So the expenses and super were to ensure MP’s were not in poverty while serving their country on low salaries or after they retired, then the HSC was established to ensure they received a salary commensurate with the private sector and told not to consider these expense claims and super privileges when doing this?

        Anyone on those salaries in the private sector would be taxed on their expenses income and super subsidy …

        • Ari

          Yeah it’s a bit ridiculous. Either the wages need to be lower, (because it IS a service, after all) the entitlements need to be lower, or there need to be much stricter rules around the entitlements.

          Right now the wage and expenses seem to be balanced around the idea that being an MP is a career. It is not.

  16. If anyone would like to bring evidence of these expenses claimed, Aucklanders will be holding a People’s Court outside Paula Bennett’s office this coming Saturday, August 8th, at 1pm. We have served a summons on Ms Bennett ( ) and already have witnesses from the disabled community, solo mothers who are trying to complete their studies, union movement fighting unemployment and cutbacks and the local Grassroots Action Group fighting Waitakere’s incoporation into the Supercity. Some Labour people braved the rain and joined the picket last Saturday- would be great to see many more at the People’s Court.

    Bring outrage and a sense of humour.
    If Paula doesn’t show, prepare for some Kafkaesque capers. 😉

    • Jared 16.1

      I have an awfully funny feeling Bennett won’t attend your faux court. It would be nice if your average student got half of what the TIA beneficiaries are entitled to, as a student im not entitled to a benefit, only an Accomodation Supplement (max $150 a week) which I have to pay back. Why should they receive more than I am entitled to? They already receive a benefit, with the TIA being a top up. Wheres my TIA?

      • Macro 16.1.1

        Obviously your not raising any children Jared. When you are, perhaps you might like to visit the Problem of difference again. The DPB is there to assist not only the solo parent (caregiver), but also the children. Too often it seems that the children are forgotten by the benefit bashers. Its no fault of theirs that they are in the situation they are in. If Paula Bennett truly believes that a solo parent can successfully raise children on the DPB AND have sufficient money left over to undertake Tertiary studies without a top up, or going into further debt, I would as her to forgo her Housing allowance and pay for her housing in Wellington out of the monies the state already provides (ie her ministerial salary) to show us all that she is well aware of the sacrifice she is asking others to make.

  17. BLiP 17

    With three or four changes in address Bill English has had, has he been uses the expenses system to subside proprty speculation?

    This whole espenese rort has got to go. Give the fuckers a payrise equal to the average expenditure of the expenses and do away with it.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      See my suggestion further up. Take those few million dollars per year and build an apartment complex for them. They really don’t need a pay-rise and the apartment complex would be much cheaper anyway.

  18. Alix 18

    GO TO-
    Government have stalled my emails. Check tonight before the email address closes.
    Download information- Do not publish any information.
    But beware of the MEAnz cover-up.
    Read draft folders- open all folders- take information.

    Sorry about spelling mistakes on email account. Rushed job.

    • felix 18.1


      How does one “go to” an email address?

      Do you mean people should send their addresses to you so that you can send them something back?

      Hmmm, no I don’t think I’ll be doing that, thanks.

  19. John 19

    Felix- go into ‘hotmail’ account from your server.

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