Half Key’s Cabinet at the trough

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, November 10th, 2009 - 25 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags:

The Dompost reveals that more ministers have been using their MP’s privilege to work around the standard John Key claimed to have set on ministers taking their spouses travelling internationally with taxpayer money.

key pig farmerJudith Collins, Simon Power, Wayne Mapp, and Anne Tolley join the previously known list – Rodney Hide, Peter Dunne, Phil Heatley, and David Carter. Still no confirmation on Maurice Williamson.

This is no rogue minister, not one person being cute with the rules. It’s a systematic move by Key’s ministers to make a nullity of his commitment that ministers would no longer use taxpayer money for international spousal travel.

Key’s excuse in all this is that he can control ministers’ use of the ministerial allowance but not the MPs’ allowance. That’s patently absurd. They are his ministers, they serve at his pleasure. If he doesn’t want them doing something he should punish them when they do.

The reality is that Key’s ban was always just more big words. When it came to actually backing up his words, Key did what he always does – nothing. More than that, his office signed off on all these ministers’ using the MPs’ travel perk for their spouses. Without Key’s sign-off, it wouldn’t have happened.

25 comments on “Half Key’s Cabinet at the trough”

  1. grumpy 1

    Are these claims illegal?

    Are they worse than under Labour?

    Do any of them approach the over the top claims for Carter and his boyfriend?

    Would Rodders be OK if he were homosexual?

    Why the faux outrage???

    • Tigger 1.1

      grumps, clearly you want to live in the past. I’d prefer it too. At least last year we had a government that I could, more often than not, respect. These buffoons embarrass me.

      Rodders would have probably been doubly crucified if he was gay and had taken his new, young boyfriend.

      That said, I’m sure he would be OK if he was homosexual. It’s really not that terrible.

      • grumpy 1.1.1


        I really want to be outraged by all this – after all, it’s my tax money they are using, but why can’t you guys be honest and attack all the theiving bast**ds, especially the biggest of all – Chris Carter.

        At least remove the suspicion, that because he is “gay” he is a protected species on these pages.

        Would give you more credibility.

        • Tigger

          So what part of when Carter was hauled through the mud by the press over his spending didn’t you think went far enough?

          • Pascal's bookie

            Ooh I know tigg, pick me, pick me!

            It’s the part where they didn’t put enough scare quotes around “teh gay”

    • Bright Red 1.2

      Key was setting a new, higher standard for ministers. It’s not good enough to say ‘non-ministers do it’ or ‘Labour did it’ because this is about whether Key has enforced the rule that he set.

  2. Pat 2

    Figures from Claire Trevett:

    “Travel perks (air and surface) taken by ministers of the Crown between January and September (National Party unless stated otherwise):

    John Carter – $31,549 Nick Smith – $26,137 Bill English – $18,366 Peter Dunne (United Future) – $17,848 Anne Tolley – $17,019 Pita Sharples (Maori Party) – $16,653 David Carter – $16,280 Phil Heatley – $16,163 Maurice Williamson – $13,098 Tony Ryall – $12,171 Rodney Hide (Act) – $12,146.60 (Was $34,121 – repaid $21,974.40) Judith Collins – $11,882 John Key – $10,980 Georgina te Heuheu – $9517 Jonathan Coleman – $7850 Wayne Mapp – $7730 Steven Joyce – $6950 Gerry Brownlee – $6822 Pansy Wong – $6377 Tariana Turia (Maori Party) – $5113 Kate Wilkinson – $3181 Paula Bennett – $3168 Heather Roy (Act) – $3165 Tim Groser – $2483 Simon Power – $2441 Chris Finlayson – $1044 Murray McCully – $359.”

    Note: Key’s “edict” was in June.

    • grumpy 2.1

      How about the Labour MP’s. don’t they take their partners?

      In particular how about Carter and his boyfriend?

      • Tigger 2.1.1

        At least Carter is in a legally recognised relationship – unlike Hide for example.

        • grumpy

          And that is an excuse???

          So it’s OK with a “Civil Union”???

          • Tigger

            Personally, I don’t have an issue with spouses travelling with MPs. I do have an issue with exactly how much we subsidise it (and the 90% subsidisation in particular). Many spouses work damn hard and network while on these trips – they’re actually working for us in many cases.

            And if we’re comparing Carter to Hide at least let’s work with all the facts. Carter took his husband who has supported him for years in politics, including in the public eye. Hide took some chick who no one has seen before.

            • Pat

              Irrelevant. Both were entitled to take one nominated person when travelling using the MP perk.

            • felix

              Rodney’s biggest problem, of course, is that he has actively opposed the use of this perk AT ALL.

              For YEARS AND YEARS.

              He can wriggle and squirm and wash all he likes but he’ll never get the smell off.

            • grumpy

              Much better looking though.

            • Swampy

              Carter’s mate is not his husband as we do not have gay marriage in NZ.

          • roger nome

            Why the quotation marks around “Civil Union” grumpy?

      • Bright Red 2.1.2

        I don’t see why the status of the relationship matters. The point is, Key set the new standard and has stoody by as his ministers violated it.

        It’s not good enough to say ‘non-ministers do it’ or ‘Labour did it’. Key was setting a new, higher standard for ministers.

        • grumpy

          I can buy that argument but not the selectivity.

          If it’s wrong it’s wrong – regardless of party. Its our tax money regardless if they are Nat, act or Labour.

          There is an argument that ministerial business may make it MORE expected for a Minister to take his wife. Certainly it is common for ministers from other countries to take wives and is expected.

  3. roger nome 3

    grumpy – you miss the point that there’s only one hypocritical self-styled “perk-buster” in parliament.

    • grumpy 3.1


      You are correct that Hide is a hypocrite, but then so are those contributors who are keen to criticise National MPs while turning a blind eye to Labour.

      • Jasper 3.1.1

        Lets just start calling him Rortney Hypocrihide

      • Zorr 3.1.2

        I cannot remember which party promised to stop their Ministers from travelling with spouses. Can someone remind me? Somehow I feel that the answer to this plays very directly to the charge of “hypocrite” – where, for clarification to the pigheaded of the readers, hypocrite means saying one thing and doing the other.

      • Bright Red 3.1.3

        but it was Key that set the standard for his ministers, grumpy. Don’t you get that?

        It’s got nothing to do with what may have been the practice in the past under Labour and National governments.

        It is about Key living up to his word and enforcing the standards he sets for ministers.

        • Craig Glen Eden

          Yes he (grumpy) gets it, to not get it would mean he has the intellect of a four year old, he is just trying as hard as he can to defend Keys PR lie.

          Key wanted the public to believe he was the big hard man, in touch with the man in the street who was working hard in a recession and having to tighten his/her belt.
          Fact is it was all spin just like everything he does. He is the proverbial door to door sales person he will say what ever, where ever, to who ever as long as you like the image he is happy.

          The fact the media keep sucking it up to feed to the public is the amazing thing. Keys an out and out actor he will ride it for as long as the dumb arse media keep floating his boat.

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