Heatley: Not a crook, an idiot

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, March 31st, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: parliamentary spending - Tags:

The Auditor-General has found that Phil Heatley wrongly bought $1,402 worth of private goods and services on his ministerial and MP tabs.

That’s OK according to the PM because Heatley didn’t intend to break the rules. Well, I guess that’s OK then. Of course, you have to assume that Heatley is a total idiot in that case, a babe in the woods with no idea of rules that are obvious.

I mean what kind of fool would you have to be to think that $70 of wine for your wife and yourself at your party conference was a legitimate ministerial expense?

How naive do you have to be to think that flying your kid to Queenstown and taking them down to Kaikoura is something you can put on your MP expenses?

If he’s not a crook he’s an idiot. Neither ought to be qualifications for being a minister.

There remains too the question of what was really behind the resignation. Most commentators dismissed Heatley’s ‘it put it down as food and wine but it was only wine’ as a cover story hiding something more. I recall Brent Edwards saying that, as with the Richard Worth resignation, we will probably never get to the real truth. I fear he is right because it seems certain that the media will happily accept the AG’s report as the end of the issue.

26 comments on “Heatley: Not a crook, an idiot”

  1. vidiot 1

    Shall be interesting to see what other IDIOTS get their knuckles smacked. There will be a few long term troughers that will be having kittens about now.

  2. Armchair Critic 2

    It’s a new National (low) standard – ignorance IS now a valid defence.

    • burt 2.1

      Ignorance as an excuse is not new for politicians. Labour told us in 2006 that the rules were confusing and others did it too…. But go on, tell me how it is different when Labour do it !

      • Armchair Critic 2.1.1

        Hey burt, you’re back. And with a “Labour did it too” and a “retrospective” in less than ten minutes. Did you come up with anything new while you were banned? How about a good reason to support Heatley’s reinstatement?

      • burt 2.1.2

        I don’t support his reinstatement. He has no excuse for not knowing the rules. Politicians don’t, by convention, have the right to say they didn’t understand the laws they pass. But precedent says it is OK for politicians to say the rules they wrote for themselves are confusing. It’s crap isn’t it.

  3. bored 3

    Hell, to point out the obvious Heatley is:

    1. An idiot.
    2. Keeps good company with a lot of other idiots.
    3. Has an idiot boss.

  4. burt 4

    Ha ha, the rules were confusing and others probably broke them as well…. Sounds like some validations will need to be passed under urgency… But hey, that’s what we do when accountability is a just a word not a principle.

  5. Joe Bloggs 5

    speaking of which, when do the Labour expenses get released?
    Now those will make for interesting reading.

    Bet there’s already a couple of troughers waiting verrry nervously for those little gems to be published….

    • burt 5.1

      Trevor Mallard is on record saying that if he got caught like Heatley did he would resign. I wonder where he will find wiggle room if it comes to that ?

    • gobsmacked 5.2

      Out of interest, why does every rightie pretend history began with Helen Clark? Why does every issue have an arbitrary cut-off date, in 1999?

      Sure, let’s see the expenses of the last government. Fair call. And equally fair: the one before that, which included Ministers called Bill English, Tony Ryall, Maurice Williamson, Murray McCully, Nick Smith, Lockwood Smith, etc …

      If their past spending is fair game, and they’re still in Parliament, let’s shine a light on how they spent our money. All of them.

      Any objections? And on what grounds?

      • burt 5.2.1

        No objection. I also campaigned that we should have seen the sum of electioneering spending that was validated over a period of 14 years . Given Labour spent $800,000 over and above the legal limits in 2005 it would be very interesting to see what had been going on across all parties in the 14 years that were sealed in a box and given a green tick of acceptable.

        There needs to be a bar somewhere where we don’t dig any further but that bar should be based on law rather than convienance.

        • Sam

          Stop trying to re-write history and compare apples with apples. There was a change in the interpretation of the rules in 2006 which caught out nearly every party in the house – National included. This is no way the same as a minister not knowing the rules that have not changed in some time.

        • burt


          You keep pretending that the AG didn’t know what he was talking about and that he changed the rules if that makes you feel better. Remember though, the normal way in a democracy that allegations of breaking the law are managed is via a court, not via parliament. It is hard to call a parliament a democracy when that parliament rules in it’s own favour regarding allegations of breaking the law killing a standing court case as it does so.

        • burt


          Also, please don’t forget the written warning from the Chief Electoral Oficer (David Henry) that the pledge card would be deemed an election expense and needed to be accounted for as such. Labour acknowledged that then changed their mind about how to account for it after the election. “deliberate” and “intentional” are words that spring to mind. But hey, changed the rules sounds better eh.

          • lprent

            burt: It looks to me like this is diverting off (again) into a completely different topic to the post. Move it into OpenMike. That is what it is there for

  6. Vivienne 6

    He is a crook an idiot and a lier. He is back in cabinet to sell more state houses, destroy NZs rare dolphin species and further plunder fragile fish stocks.

    • burt 6.1

      rOb will be here soon to justify how it was OK for him to not understand the rules and to justify his reinstatement as natural justice. You simply can’t expect MPs to be accountable when doing so would effect the ability of the govt to govern…… Waiting for rOb.

  7. the sprout 7

    great to see ignorance is now a legal defence after all.
    great too that being incapable of following basic rules on spending and accountability are nolonger prerequisites for being a minister of the crown.

    • burt 7.1

      great too that being incapable of following basic rules on spending and accountability are nolonger prerequisites for being a minister of the crown.

      NOLONGER…. what are you talking about. That requirement was dropped in Labour’s last term with;

      a) The election spending debacle.
      b) The handling of Winston Spencer-Trust-Peters.

      It’s crap, but you can’t pin this as a new low standard, National are yet to even start plumbing the depths Labour got to on these issues.

  8. Tigger 8

    This is truly bewildering. It’s a poor management decision not to stand him down longer given the circumstances. Heatley himself said he needed a decent break. Reciple for disaster. Which, of course, is awesome!

  9. Lanthanide 9

    The answer to “How naive do you have to be to think that flying your kid to Queenstown and taking them down to Kaikoura is something you can put on your MP expenses?”

    From the stuff article:

    “Among her findings, Ms Provost said Parliamentary Service had wrongly told MPs they had a right to unlimited travel for children under 5, potentially affecting 16 MPs including Mr Heatley who should have taken “a more conservative approach”.”

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    The Prime Minister has announced that silly mistakes are not a bar to a seat at the cabinet table ,but are indeed a prerequisite.
    In addition he has announced a new Ministry of Silly Mistakes as this is an area that has not had the representation at the highest levels in the past. He said we will be ahead of Australia.

  11. deemac 11

    does burt have a job? or is he paid to troll here? I certainly couldn’t spare so much time to visit a site I don’t like

    • felix 11.1

      does burt have a job? or is he paid to troll here?

      Those are both the same thing, aren’t they?

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