web analytics

English owes us disclosure

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 am, September 21st, 2009 - 13 comments
Categories: bill english - Tags: , ,

I’ve posted before on “mainstream” media editorials, their variable quality and the paradox (in this world of blogging) of their anonymity. Every now and then it means that even The Herald can come up with a scorcher. And the Saturday Editorial on Bill English is certainly that. Usually I would try to “add value” (don’t laugh!) to stuff I quote, but there really is nothing to add here (except perhaps to suggest a theme song for Bill). Extracts from the editorial:

…English remained in a unique position: the $1.2 million Karori house, owned by the family’s Endeavour Trust, in which he lives with his wife and six children, is deemed an official ministerial residence and leased back to the Crown. Until English, under pressure, changed the arrangements, this cost taxpayers – and, by any sensible assessment, benefited English – $47,000 a year.

If these arrangements complied with the letter of the law, English should explain why he changed them when the heat came on. He also needs to explain the trust arrangements. He declared a “beneficial interest” in the trust last year and “no pecuniary interest” this year. What changed, and why? The inescapable suspicion lingers that he was arranging his affairs to maximise his entitlements. That may be legal, but in the middle of a recession when, as Finance Minister, he is calling for restraint in public expectations of state spending, it remains deeply questionable.

The least that English owes the country now is that disclosure. He – and Key – should remember the odium that was heaped on British MPs over their often-grotesque claims and manipulation of the rules: all were within the letter of the law but the public was no less disgusted. As the man in charge of the public purse, English is subject to far higher expectations than strict legality. It is time he answered those expectations. The cost to his and the Government’s credibility is already far too high.

13 comments on “English owes us disclosure ”

  1. Stever 1

    Yes…but perhaps we’re seeing a battle in the Nats going on in public.

    So, it’s not The Herald coming over all intelligent and thoughtful for a bare millisecond, but the Auckland-based, PR-centred, smarmy John Key-axis of the party putting the boot into the conservative heartland.

    This sort of editorial is, nowadays, so uncharacteristic of The Herald that I don’t really see anything other than a nasty, cowardly (because anonymous) attack by the oily faction in The Party.

  2. jcuknz 2

    Your opening sentance is amusing …. anonymity? Which ‘robert’ are you or which edward is eddie etc. Believe me, jcuknz is as unique as my legal name, more so in fact. So this is not the kettle calling the pot black, just an expression of amusement. 🙂

    • Marty G 2.1

      Robin and Edwin isn’t it?

      • r0b 2.1.1

        I’ve commented once or twice that my pseudonym / handle is a “tribute” to the person who was so formative of my political opinions and activism, the late Mr Muldoon.

        I think jcuknz’s comment should get some kind of award though!

    • lprent 2.2

      In major papers (and even minor ones), it is one of many people writing for the ‘paper’ as an editorial. Which is why it it is often quite inconsistent.

      Writers here are pseudonymous which means you can see a body or work by a single author to compare against.

      I think that rOb was referring to the Heralds editorials being anonymous because you have no idea if the piece was written by the same person who had a completely different viewpoint last week.

      Of course we do a few anonymous pieces as well. “The Standard” does announcements that writers aren’t adding significant commentary to. People sending pieces in get posted under “Guest Post” which may or many not have a psuedonym.

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Duncan Garner doesn’t hold back:

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Politics/DuncanGarnersBlog/tabid/1135/articleID/121925/cat/934/Default.aspx

    Note that Garner refers to Bill English’s angry outbursts and abusive language, a story the media knew all about last week but largely kept under wraps.

    • Tigger 3.1

      I think Garner nails the point here but I find it hard to believe this would be acceptable to anyone.

      “Labour will claim he owes $400,000, because he has claimed the out of town allowance for years. So Labour should accept any move that for what it is – and leave him alone if he does it.”

      If this was most people in their jobs and they’d received an entitlement they were not meant to receive they would be expected to pay it back. Over time and bit by bit I’m sure given the circumstances, perhaps all at once if the employer was less forgiving, but the obligation would be to return the money. Why should he be any different?

  4. Red Rosa 4

    Intriguing tangle – but a Nat Spat? That is a conspiracy theory to beat all.

    Nothing to add – the Herald and Duncan Garner do it well. Except to suggest ‘Bungalow Bill’ by the Fab Four as a second theme song, with the closing credits….

    (security word ‘excess’ – now don’t tell me they are randomly generated!)

    • SteveR 4.1

      No, I’m not proposing a conspiracy!

      Surely it’s just normal politics, and if you have a rag like The Herald in your PR grip then why not use it to advance your side?

      Or perhaps The Herald already knows which side it supports and is simply saying what it thinks.

      Business as usual, either way.

  5. jcuknz 5

    My understanding of editorials is that they are written by various individuals with the approval of the editorial “committee” . When there is variation it illustrates that it is being written by an individual member rather than by the committee. [Note. the camel is a horse created by a committee]
    Whether it is edwin or edward doesn’t really alter my point.
    As far as the rest of the thread is concerned I think it is foolish and petty political twaddle. The parliamentary guys particularly cabinet have a hell of a job and irrespective of the criteria the argumernt is currently being argued on, the correct criteria IMO is that he is the Member for Clutha [whatever] and required to largely live in Wellington. Having been successful in his job he has spent a long time and fortunately he has his family with him. So Clutha is his home and it is part of the cost of running Parliament that his Wellington expenses are covered properly.

    • lprent 5.1

      Ummm That wasn’t what you were saying last year. I seem to remember that it was pretty much that politicians should live to a higher standard than everyone else. I seem to remember that you were part of the lynch mob.

      He may be required to spend a lot of time in Wellington. He isn’t required to live there with his family (that is after all what the discussion is about). There is no particular reason why the taxpayers should fund that decision. We do fund the air-travel that is required to go back and forward to electorates. From Wellington it is hard to think of part of NZ that isn’t within 2 hours.

      Helen usually used to come back to Auckland on Saturday and usually spent Sunday and often Monday working from home. Originally that was on fax and land lines, more recently using secure logins to parliament and excessive txting.

      Incidentally and off the top of my head, I can’t think of another electorate MP who is a permanent resident of Wellington whose seat isn’t in the Wellington area. It seems a bit weird to me.

      • jcuknz 5.1.1

        The wise person is prepared to change their mind, it shows a certain level of intelligence as opposed to blind adherance. That comment assumes that your memory is correct on what I said last year, I have no idea what you are refering to. I used to be an enthusiastic supporter of ACT as a varient of socialism, like Labour Progressive Muldoonism and Alliance but over the past decade parties have changed and I have no allegences to any party just my beliefs of what is right. In this case it makes sense for English to have his family with him for his sanity, that of the family, and the country. Helen Clark only has a husband so the example quoted is hardly relevant to the discussion. It is also much easier and quicker to jump on a plane between Wellington and Auckland than to commute between Wellington and Clutha by a rather neglected airport like Dunedin. Or should the country pay for a special extra flights to and from Dunedin and then Clutha to suit the Minister’s timetable? .. I suspect the cost of that would be far more that the sums now being questioned. I’m sure he would much prefer to spend time in Southland/ Otago [?] than stuck in Wellington if the job and airline permitted.. I’m sure your two hour suggestion is quite wrong, Clutha is an easy example of your error.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago