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English lives where Lockwood says

Written By: - Date published: 1:31 pm, August 6th, 2009 - 7 comments
Categories: national - Tags:

Allowances for MPs accommodation are made according to the Speaker’s determinations.

An MP’s “primary place of residence” is where the Speaker says it is. Page 18 of the determination gives the definition:

primary place of residence,—
(a) in relation to a member, means the place of residence that the Speaker determines, by written notice to the
member, to be the member’s primary place of residence in New Zealand;

So Bill English lives in Dipton because Lockwood Smith says he does. Lockwood says Bill lives in Dipton presumably because  Bill told him he does. Lockwood said as much on rnz yesterday – MPs sign a document to that effect.

That is why Bill English’s statement to Lockwood should be revealed. The most fundamental of parliamentary conventions is that Members are true to their word. This might be more than a matter of “withdraw and apologise”.

7 comments on “English lives where Lockwood says ”

  1. Pat 1

    So Bill English lives in the same place that Dame Margaret Wilson said he does.

  2. Ianmac 2

    Yes. The Speaker must take the word of an MP until proven otherwise.

  3. BLiP 3

    “Welcome aboard ladies and gentlmen, this is Lockie Smith and I am your captain on this flight from reality . . . “

  4. Eric C. 4

    Hold on guys. We don’t know what English wrote on the form just yet, but if he did lie, he has a big problem.

    Didn’t Mary Ann Thompson end up in court for something like that? I doubt that Lockie is going to release the form, but maybe the Police can get it.

  5. Rex Widerstrom 5

    I know this has overtones of “they did it too so it’s okay” but that’s not my point. Breathe through the nose and read on… 😛

    Members of Parliament are “Honourable” Members. There is a long tradition which says they must be taken at their word. That’s the whole basis of Personal Explanations, for instance (which under Standing Orders must be heard in silence, because any jeering would suggest the Member is not Honourable). It’s also the reason words like “liar” are ruled unparliamentary.

    This convenient fiction is trotted out regularly to excuse assorted bastardry on the part of our employees. For instance, no points for guessing who said this:

    I’m in a position that Mr Peters is an honourable member and I must accept his word unless I have evidence to the contrary.

    Well yes, technically Peters was an “honourable” MP. In reality, of course he was anything but and at the time that statement was made the evidence of that latter contention was overwhelming.

    Now no less a figure than the Speaker is hiding behind the same fiction.

    The answer, it would seem, is to put a formal end to the fiction and bring Parliament into line with the reality which the vast majority of citizens know to be true – that you wouldn’t trust most MPs with the keys to your liquor cabinet let alone to be in Cabinet – and remove the fictitious title “Honourable”.

  6. SPC 6

    The defence is that it was common practice to take the accommodation allowance money available and to state as “an out of town electorate MP” one was entitled to accommodation finance as well as the salary.

    The same defence was used by Labour, NZ First, Greens and United over use of the leaders Fund.

    There are two options, a new standard or a new standard and some people handing money back.

    My own thinking is.

    I presume MP’s and Ministers pay tax on their salary as others do. If others received travel allowances and accommodation allowances they would be taxed on that too.

    If there is no tax liability as occurs with tax paid benefits then a form of means tests should apply instead (income and assets of the MP/Minister and their partner).

    I am at a loss to see why a Minister has a greater entitlement to help with accommodation when he receives an increase in pay on becoming a Minister. If it has something to do with promotion and salary package then it’s all taxable. If not, why the extra amount it costs the same to house a person and or their family whatever job they have.

    I know this is far too generous, why not stay with the maximum allowance of $24,000 pa for MP’s (use for Ministers also as it seems close to an average Wellington family home rent cost). And tax the amount received as income (reducing it by 38 cents in the dollar they receive enough pay to contribute towards their own housing costs).

    And a definition if their family/partner is living with them it is the prime family home (so Bill would not qualify). However of course any non Wellington based MP has other costs in representing an electorate (complicated with list MP’s no doubt Roger will be at our tourist resort hotels for ACT party meetings) so should be claiming for their electorate accommodation costs and or “cost of’ use of an owned home for this purpose based on what this home could be rented out for if not used for this purpose (the same $24,000 maximum should apply).

    Minor party list MP’s – ACT and Greens have nationwide representation burdens not falling on list MP’s for Labour and National – maybe a standard party list accommodation allowance is required for each party (with more than one MP) as the smaller the party the greater the need.

    PS On the issue of payback (this was introduced only for 2005 and not National’s use of this Leaders Fund back in 2002). Perhaps on this occasion the date this government was installed would suffice (within the tax year).

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