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Driven to corruption

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, December 9th, 2009 - 43 comments
Categories: corruption, national/act government - Tags:

It turns out I understated the latest National ministers’ rort. Not only were the rules changed to allow ministers to have their taxpayer-funded self-drive cars in Wellington while pretending their primary residence was elsewhere so they could claim the taxpayer-funded out of town accommodation allowance, they already had the cars in Wellington before the rule was changed. And that was against the law.

key pig farmerThe Civil List Act means that Bill English and the other 10 ministers were breaking the law when they had their cars in Wellington, not at their supposed primary residences. It also means John Key was breaking the law by allowing them to keep their cars when they were violating the rules.

This is an astonishingly corrupt government. The corruption is ubiquitous, all-invasive, and systematic. The top priority of most ministers seem to be filling their own pockets with our money. In answering questions on this latest issue in Parliament yesterday, Gerry Brownlee essentially admitted the corruption but claimed that the fact the government is (incompetently) working on bigger issues justifies petty corruption.

And Key just grins and turns a blind eye to it all, when he’s not actively assisting the corruption.

One more thing: these 10 ministers additional to English who had their taxpayer-funded self-drives in Wellington while their primary residence is elsewhere, are they pulling the Double Dipton too? Are they really living in Wellington while claiming their primary residence is elsewhere so they can get the taxpayer-funded out of town allowance? It looks fishy.

43 comments on “Driven to corruption”

  1. So, going to report them to the police for contravention of statute?

    • snoozer 1.1

      Surely you’re already on to it i/s 🙂

      Looks like Hodgson has more on the issue this question time.

  2. Nick 2

    Wow! Six times the word “corrupt” or “corruption” is used in this post. If you get to eight it might just come true!

    • Ron 2.1

      Funny anyone should dis the Left for using “corrupt” given the last election campaign

    • Homo Domesticus 2.2

      If it is not corruption what is it?

      Clearly you do not know the meaning of the word ‘corruption’.Friend, let me educate you.

      Corruption: Lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to bribery); use of a position of trust for dishonest gain

      The latter perfectly describes Bill English. This minister has zero integrity and should be tossed out of Parliament and tried for corruption;

  3. Surely you’re already on to it i/s

    Nope. I don’t talk to the police.

  4. Yes Nick, thats what its called when you take money thats not rightfully yours.

    In the National Party you probably call it bonuses, perks, or stuff on side that we expect in office.

    White collar criminals are all the same they just think they are entitled to have what ever they like. No different to the common thief just living in different digs.

    • Noko 4.1

      There is a difference to the common thief, quite an important distinction.

      The common thief knows what s/he is doing is wrong, but is (usually) driven to it by poverty or lack of empowerment to get out of the poverty cycle. The common thief will face jail time if caught.

      The white-collar criminal really believes they deserve the money they are stealing from people, steal thousands of times more than an thief will ever steal and affect far more lives but will face nought but a slap on the wrist.

  5. Tim Ellis 5

    I wonder if Mrs King or Mr Mallard had self drive cars in Wellington?

    Seems like it was a bit of a stupid rule to have in place for Ministers not to be able to use their cars where they spent most of their time, and force them to use crown limos instead.

    • snoozer 5.1

      Tim. Their electorates are in Wellington, of course they had their self-drives there. In their electorates. Don’t be silly.

      • Tim Ellis 5.1.1

        Some of the ten listed are also based in Wellington snoozer.

        As I said, it was a stupid rule in the first place, forcing Ministers to use crown limos instead of self drive cars.

        • Pascal's bookie 5.1.1.1

          It’s assumes they’ll be spending a fair bit of time at their primary place of residence Tim.

    • toad 5.2

      The primary place of residence for King and Mallard is Wellington, so that is where their self-drive cars should have been based under the rules in force when they were Ministers.

      Just as English’s should have been in Dipton to get him from his home to Invercargill airport before Key changed the rules.

  6. Scribe 6

    [As I said on another thread]

    Brownlee summed it up succinctly — this issue has “bugger all relevance’.

    I would have thought that if ministers were entitled to a self-drive car, they should be able to choose where that car is based.

    To label this corruption is incredibly desperate, Eddie.

    • toad 6.1

      They are now. The point is, they were not until Key changed the rule. English broke the rule. I happen to agree that it was a silly rule that should have been changed, but that doesn’t make picking up taxpayer funding for something the rules don’t permit any less than corruption.

    • gitmo 6.2

      If they didn’t have these cars wouldn’t they be using those crown beemers instead ?

      Can’t see what the fuss is about.

      • Tim Ellis 6.2.1

        That’s right, gitmo.

        I wonder what’s more expensive. A minister driving themselves around, or taking a chauffeur-driven beemer.

        It clearly wasn’t the tightly enforced practice for ministers in the last government to only have their vehicles in their primary place of residence. Mr Peters’ ministerial car was reported to have been in Auckland for several months after he ceased to be a Minister. Still I suppose it’s a case of Labour good, National bad.

        • snoozer 6.2.1.1

          ignorant, Tim. Just ignorant. read my comment below. Key’s rule change cost money, it didn’t save any.

      • snoozer 6.2.2

        “In a letter, David Oughton, chairman of the Remuneration Authority, which sets MPs’ salaries, said the change “may be of significant benefit to some members”.

        A Ministerial Services staff member said in an email that it would lead to little savings on the costs of chauffeur-driven ministerial travel in Wellington.” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10614125

        So there is a cost and no real savings.

        • Tim Ellis 6.2.2.1

          snoozer, I think you need to understand the difference between “a benefit to some members” and a cost.

          • snoozer 6.2.2.1.1

            Where do you think that benefit comes from, Tim? Thin air?

            It comes from having their self-drive where they really live, in wellington, rather than where they pretend to live, in their electorate, for accommodation benefit purposes.

            Having the cars in Wellington means they can drive it more = more cost to the taxpayer, pretending their primary residence is elsewhere and getting the out of town allowance = cost to taxpayer.

            I thought you were on the side of taxpayers, tim?

            • Tim Ellis 6.2.2.1.1.1

              snoozer, please explain how it is an extra cost to the taxpayer for Mr Power to drive his self drive car from palmerston north to wellington each week and back again, rather than have a ministerial limousine take him on this journey. Please explain how it is more costly for a minister to use a self drive car in wellington on any journey that they would otherwise be entitled to use a crown limousine.

              • snoozer

                I don’t have to explain. The head of the Remuneration Authority said it was the case that breaking the rules was of significant value to ministers.

                We can either accept that what he said is true, or all be little Timmy’s burying our head in the sand or up Key’s arse.

              • Tim Ellis

                snoozer, yes or no. Did the chairman of the remuneration authority say that this rule change would result in extra costs to the taxpayer?

              • Lanthanide

                Presumably a crown limo can only be used while on government business, eg getting from one meeting to another.

                Whereas a self-drive car sounds like it would sit in the minister’s driveway, much like a company car, and could be used to take the missus out to dinner or the kids down to the beach for an ice-cream, all on the taxpayers dime.

                Much like a company car, it means that the minister doesn’t have to own their own private car, instead they can sell their own private car and use the one provided by the government. That is clearly a net benefit to the minister.

              • snoozer

                clearly he did Tim.

                like Lanthanide says, this rule change allows wellington based ministers who claim a primary residence elsewhere to use their taxpayer funded car in place of a car they own themselves.

                The taxpayer ends up paying for the petrol, maintainance etc that the minsiter would otherwise pay out of pocket.

                I note that Key refused to table the advice he was given on the cost of self drive cars in Parliament today, that says something.

              • Tim Ellis

                Where did the chairman of the remuneration authority say that snoozer? Or are you making it up?

    • snoozer 6.3

      oh scribe, you old bunny, you should read the post:

      “In answering questions on this latest issue in Parliament yesterday, Gerry Brownlee essentially admitted the corruption but claimed that the fact the government is (incompetently) working on bigger issues justifies petty corruption.”

      • Scribe 6.3.1

        snoozer,

        Sorry if I don’t take the posts on the standard as necessarily reflective of the truth — they often aren’t.

        Just had a look at Hansard and I noticed that Darren Hughes raised a point of order in the House after Gerry Brownlee said “bugger”, as in “bugger-all relevance”.

        Made me think of Steve Maharey…

  7. IrishBill 7

    I liked the way the Nat’s immediately reverted to (untrue) smear by attacking Dyson. Dirty old misdirection is always a sure sign they’ve been caught out.

  8. I can imagine the conversation somewhere in the upper echelons of the beehive in the aftermath of Bill DD English and Rodney Hide’s girlfriend humping adventures while on Holiday in Hawaii on taxpayers money

    BE and RH, “Pfuh that was close.”
    BE,”Yeah I thought I could pack my bags and go back to dreary old Dipton, the missus all but threatened me with staying in W. while I buggered of.”
    RH,” Tell me about it, I haven’t had a bit of leg over since I had to say no to some of shall we say the more extravagant wishes of my darling. She must think I’m made of money or something.”
    BE and RH, We’ll at least we sorted that eh?
    JK,” What do you mean sorted that? It cost me an arm and a leg toe get some talking points from C$T. Anyway we have to get to the next urgency meeting and as I have given my chauffeur a day of I have to take the self drive.”
    BE and RH,” Yeah me too.”

    Silence
    All three,”Euurm.”

    JK,” Ah, no worries we’ll just change the law eh.

    Embezzlement: the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets, usually financial in nature, by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted.
    Our tax money and the ministers. Sounds like Embezzlement to me.

    Rort: a term used in Australia and New Zealand.[1] It is commonly related to politics, or, more generally, a financial impropriety, particularly relating to a government program.

    Bill DD English and Rodney Hide and let’s not forget Mrs Lee.

    Political corruption: the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain.

    Changing the law to legitimize previously illegitimate behavior most definitely sounds like political corruption to me and since they can do so without any repercussion it comes even more close to what corruption mean in Latin:

    corrumpere: to destroy and
    rumpere: when used as an adverb literally means “utterly broken”

    This is an interesting read about what causes or rather allows corruption.

    So no, Timmie no need for desperation there. The case is clear.

  9. Tim Ellis 9

    Eddie, could you please point out which part of the Civil List Act makes this action illegal? It’s not a very big law so it won’t be hard for you to find.

  10. JD 10

    Rules smulz.

    Maybe National can just introduce retrospective legislation thereby legitimizing such ‘corruption’. Certain posters here were wholehartedly in favour of such laws when Labour enacted them so if they opposed such a move in this this case then a word beginning with H could be applied to their views.

    • Bright Red 10.1

      So, just to confirm, you’re condemning National ministers breaking the rules, eh?

      Because to not do so would be hypocritical

  11. Rich 11

    It’s interesting that English and other National MPs seem to minimise the time spent in their rural electorates as much as possible. Because, let’s face it, the electors of Brainrot Flats and Waikekamukau would elect a three legged possum if it stood under a National ticket, right? So going to see them is a poor use of time, especially when it’s the frozen south.

    (I guess the Maori seats help this in the North Island. Northland and East Coast would be a lot less safe for the Nats if many people there weren’t on the Maori roll. But that’s something for Maori to consider).

    • partisan hack 11.1

      Yes quite so it’s a bit like little polynesia in South Auckland, let’s face it, the electors of Mangere and Manurewa would elect a family pack of KFC if it stood under a Labour ticket, right? So going to see them is a poor use of time, especially when it’s free dinners at Bellamys.

      • felix 11.1.1

        “Little Polynesia”? It’s part of Polynesia ffs. It’s the biggest city in Polynesia you dim-witted racist freak.

        That’s like calling New York “Little America” or London “Little Europe”.

  12. Jared 12

    Don’t we have bigger issues to deal with than petty bullshit like where a car is based?

    • Pointing out corruption of leaders? I don’t think that is petty Jared.

      • Jared 12.1.1

        There is corruption and then there is just nit picking. We aren’t talking Phillip Field scale here, we are talking about Ministers who are allowed to base their self drive vehicles in Wellington for convenience to avoid using crown chauffeured vehicles. And yes, I do think this argument is petty, there are more important things we should be focusing on than minor speed bumps like this.

  13. It’s not just the one thing we’re talking here Jared and the fact that there are no consequences that makes this far worse than the Fielding affair. (And no I didn’t vote Labor nor am I a Labor fan).

    And the fact that they think that retrospective legislation makes it all right.

    Captcha: rid. I like

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