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He’s good where he is, thanks

Written By: - Date published: 9:19 am, October 1st, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: bill english, corruption - Tags:

Around the media, they’re talking about the growing odds English will be sacked. The other day, my mate Marty asked ‘who would replace Bill?’ and I said Key should show him the door.

I’ve changed my mind.

The corrupt prick’s clearly set up his finances to scam the max out of the public. He tried to get away with it when he was caught. Even when he gave back the money, he made it clear it was only because we made him (‘and I would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you pesky kids’).

He’s knows he’s done wrong but he refuses to admit it. He played the ‘pity me, I’m only on $270K, it’s not enough to keep my kids in their home city’ card but no-one’s buying that. His kids haven’t been sent to Dipton now he’s given the money back have they?

In short, the guy’s an arrogant, unremorseful, lying prick. Everyone thinks it.

That’s why I want him to stay.

Politics is a competition for resources – the rich vs the poor, capital vs labour – to decide how large each side’s slice is. National’s reason for existence is to enlarge capital’s share. As Finance Minister, English is the lynch-pin. It’s his job to run up the ideas – ‘cut top tax rates, increase GST’, ‘no pay increases, subsidies for business’. The clown can’t do that serious stuff. It’s the Finance Minsiter/Deputy Leader’s job. But how’s English going to do lead those policies now?

He can’t. His credibility is shot. And each new revelation will just ruin it more. Any time English is charged with running up some pro-rich policy everyone will say he’s just out to fill his own pockets.

While English remains as Deputy leader and Finance Minister, National’s agenda is stuffed.

Long may he reign.

42 comments on “He’s good where he is, thanks”

  1. Craig Glen Eden 1

    I have to agree I hope he stays, his current behavior is like stinking fish, long may he linger.

  2. Rob 2

    Lets hope that proves to be true. It would be rather unfortunate if after we fund his ripping us off for years only to then have to pay for a bielection to replace him in Parliament.

    I wonder though how long people will remember this for? If it can be made to sink into the background then he may start to get away with similar bad policy again. Remains to be seen if our general media can consistently report on National doing something wrong.

  3. Armchair Critic 3

    It is a difficult choice. Bill is probably the best of the bunch in this government, not that that is much of an achievement. But having someone less competent in will turn even more people away from the present government, long term. Personally, I think Bill has to go, but I want to see him go slowly and embarrassingly. Which he seems to be doing okay, so far.
    On a related topic, I think JK is good where he is too, i.e. on holiday and staying out of the news. It occurred to me that NACT haven’t done anything to make me go OMG WTF for the last couple of days. Then I remembered they are on recess. Says a lot about the government when the best thing they can do is go on recess.

    • Hear, hear and ‘:twisted:’

    • Hear, Hear and LOL

      • Ianmac 3.2.1

        Travelerev: if you leave the quotes in it doesn’t work ‘:twisted:’ but leave the quotes off and 😈 Found out this yesterday.

    • Peter Wilson 3.3

      Well, yesterday, very quietly, Gerry Brownlee dropped the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy. Wasn’t even picked up on by most of the media. Looks like a ‘brown tech’ future is the way forward for this country.

      • Armchair Critic 3.3.1

        “Gerry Brownlee dropped the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy.”
        WTF? OMG, why did he do that?

        • outofbed 3.3.1.1

          Because he is an arrogant C$%T ??

          • Armchair Critic 3.3.1.1.1

            I can’t find any sign of it, and I’m meant to be outside helping the fencer. It’s off topic anyway, so the last thing I will do is ask for links, PW – do you have any links to the announcement?

  4. roger nome 4

    ladies and gentlemen – welcome to the National Sociopath Party.

  5. outofbed 5

    I think we have a win win situation
    If he stays he is a liability and fatally wounded
    If he goes well, that’s a big scalp losing your finance minister
    So look like 2 ministers down so far in the first year

    Nick Smith next

  6. Red Rosa 6

    It may all hinge on an internal Nat Spat.

    The Hollow Men is still a good guide to internal National Party politics. Bill came out of it surprisingly well. His continuing senior position after being rolled by Brash did not seem to mean getting down and dirty like some of his colleagues.

    The hard men to emerge from the Exclusive Brethren/Crosby Textor saga and coverup were Key, Joyce and Brownlee. And four years later they still look like the heavyweights around the Cabinet table.

    Then there is the Auckland aspect. However galling it may be to ‘solid, sensible Southland’ (thank Keith Holyoake for that one!) Auckland is where the votes are. Auckland – the SuperCity, its roading, the numerous local and list MPs – those will be John Key’s focus for months to come.

    Whether JK treats Bill as a welcome distraction (hang him out to dry) or a damn nuisance (dump ASAP) will to some extent depend on Auckland and Aucklanders.

  7. Ianmac 7

    Yes. Lets keep Bill in the seat. And lets keep John there a long time too, because once the honeymoon is over the annoying little habits will become irritating enough to think of divorce about the beginning of 2011.

  8. CuriO 8

    The AG report will exonerate him. What nonsense, this entire thing is left wing spin. Labour Ministers lived to a similar extent (yes, lived) in Wellington for 9 years and still got the accom supp. It is the price of representation for a person from a far-flung electorate and it is a fair one. Bill has done nothing different to any Minister aside from the Trust. And this has been cleared by a QC .He followed the guidelines laid out by the AG under the previous Labour govt, and the trust was signed off by Margaret Wilson no less. So trying to spin this as though he is somehow morally culpable is going to backfire. The AG will clear him. Then the counter arguments are going to come. As a matter of fact what would have been better for him personally to do would have been to rent out his family home, and take a ministerial house, and this actually would have been fine. But he didn’t for his families sake. He is a good, honest man of integrity, and actually you are going to find that in the end that is where the story will go. He is totally correct when he says the system is not set up for him. No other tinpot country in the world would require their Deputy PM to pay for their own official residence. It will be great when this story turns around on you pricks, and it will.

    • snoozer 8.1

      If he didn’t do anything wrong, why did he give the money back?

      • CuriO 8.1.1

        He said it was about perception. Despite the fact he has done nothing wrong, he has still taken a 40 thousand a year paycut from this point onwards, and paid back 30 thousand dollars purely because he acknowledges an incorrect perception. Despite all the sneering at his supposedly enormous salary, thats pretty big from Bill English. It tends to confirm that it isn’t about the money. It is the same as when he was betrayed by members of his own party and ACT. Rather then disappearing from the political scene or causing National to self-implode as was his right, he stayed on despite being at his lowest point. This was because he wanted to give a lesson to his kids about strength and resilience as he said, and he wanted to do right by the party his mother was so proud of in Dipton and that he has been involved in now since it was old-school.

        • snoozer 8.1.1.1

          Yeah. I know people who give back $32,000 that they’re geniunely entitled to because of perception all the time.

          Sounds real credible.

          Oh, but CuriO, I thought that English didn’t control the trust the money went to. So, how did he pay it back? Ooops

    • Pascal's bookie 8.2

      “Labour Ministers lived to a similar extent (yes, lived) in Wellington for 9 years and still got the accom supp.”

      Got any names to attach to that? And it has to be be “to a similar extent”.

      Bill has done nothing different to any Minister aside from the Trust

      So now *every* previous minister has moved their family to Wellington and setup home there?

      And this has been cleared by a QC

      He has an opinion from a QC, which is what you pay them for, not a clearance. It may well be correct, or it may not.

      He is totally correct when he says the system is not set up for him.

      Quite, and yet he thinks it ought to pay him anyway.

      • CuriO 8.2.1

        1.0 Well Bill in fact only appears to have owned the bought the Karori home in late 2004 to 2005. On that basis alone the claim that he has ‘lived’ in Wellington as far back as 1996 and should pay back retrospectively all accomodation aid for that time is incorrect. During the period from 1996 to 2005 Bill was either in an official residence provided by the State or renting a home. Thus for that 11 year period at the very least he was exactly the same as any other Minister of the Crown. He was renting a home in Wellington mostly out of his own pocket with some Crown contribution. Or for the period he was in government he was put in a Crown home as per the requirements. Therefore this blogs claims are simply incorrect at the very minimum in this respect. If you say that a Minister in those circumstances from a non-wellington electorate must pay for all his accomodation out of his own pocket, then almost every minister and former minister in the house other then those with electorates in the wider wellington region should pay similarly. Every single one. Clearly this is a fallacy. And then to simply say ‘Well some of his kids went to school in Wellington’ is not salient. Some of his kids went to school in Winton, Southland, 30 mins drive from Dipton, also. Dipton is his electorate, his ancestral home, and many more factor in support of it as his offical residence. It would be as if to say that a Maori MP who buys a house in Wellington for their whanau is no longer a member of the iwi of their local area. The children who are enrolled in the Wellington electorate are required by law to be so.

        1.1 As for the situation as it is from 2005 till the end of 2008, given that 2009 does not count as he as forsworn the supplement and paid back all additions in 2009, the following is pertinent. What you have to remember is that Bill has followed the guidelines to the letter and more laid out by the Attorney General under the previous Labour government. He did not have to sign a letter declaring no pecuniary interest in the Endeavour Trust, but he did so for the sake of proprietary for parliamentary services. The Trust arrangment is monitored by parliamentary services and signed off by the speaker. He received legal advice that it was correct. It was confirmed as correct by the Parliament. It was further signed off by the Speaker. Strictly it is not even in the Attorney Generals Jurisdiction, as this is not a judicial, but a parliamentary matter, but these factors are what the AG will be considering. I cannot see how the AG can deem a full enquiry necessary given the factual and legal circumstances. It is simply impossible. So be clear that that will not occur, otherwise the entire integrity of the parliamentary system is at risk, and everyone else who has followed the rules of the parliament in fairness should be reexamined.

        1.2 Be clear in your minds that he had no pecuniary, fiduciary, or beneficial interest in the Trust. That is clear-cut. He is not a trustee. He is not a beneficiary. The money was provided for him as per usual to pay for an official residence that in this case just happened to be his own home. Rather then the cost being direct rent of a ministerial home, it was simply transferred to the cost of the Karori property.

        1.2.1 He did not and could not touch that money to do the groceries for instance or pay for his kids school. You need to understand a Trust is a separate legal entity. Bill can’t make the trust do anything, nor can he do anything towards the Trust. Once created it is a separate legal entity. He can’t give Mallard the Trust documents, becuase that is up to the Trustees!

        1.2.2If you cry ‘foul’ on this, then realise that there are more then a few hundered thousand trusts operating in New Zealand at the moment. Trusts are a legitimate and ethcially appropriate means to safeguard property for beneficiaries. Far from being a plaything for the rich anyone of any means can easily form,a trust for any number of purposes. All this vitriol about the Trust is pure bollocks. Not just the QC but the Parliament have declared his statements are correct. The AG will also.

        2.0 The legal/ethical argument

        The Labour party is attempting to run two lines at once. They try and claim he has acted illegally at times when he hasn’t to cofuse the public. Then knowing this is not the case they claim that though he hasn’t acted illegally he has acted unethically. But this is not true. In this case the ethics of the action are corrollary to it’s legality. Saying that what he has done is unethical is tantamount to saying that following the rules laid out by the parliament is unethical. Which is clearly not the case. There is no higher consitutional standard or never-land standards to be applied here. There are only the rules of the parliament. He followed the rules. This is a brief analysis, but understand you pricks that yelling loudly won’t suffice here. I maintain this is a non-story on very solid grounds.

        3.0 the family element

        3.1 He is correct when he says the system is not set up for him. It is not set up for the National party. The national party has over 20 school age children of Cabinet. The Labour party only had one. If the argument is that his young children can’t attend school in Wellington or see him sometimes in the evenings then be honest. Say that this is to be the cost of representation. Just say that we expect our MP’s to never see their families or take steps to keep their families and marriages intact. MPs are elected representatives, who at least in the National parties case take on public profile and jobs at the price of better private renumeration given their abilities in the private sector. This is certainly the case with Bill. It is all very well for Pete Hodgson to get up and say he goes home every weekend. He has no young children. Nor does anyone in the Labour party. How we treat the families of those in power is how we regard the families of everyone. Phil Goff owns an apartment in Wellington and this is fine. The only difference is the kids. So decide. Should prospective MP’s in small poor communities (And Dipton was poor for many years, and is very small) have to sacrifice their family if they show enough ability to become a Minister. This is a policy issue the Attorney General will address. I think you can see the answer is NO

        4.0 The cost to the taxpayer

        And consider this. What if he were to actually make this sacrifice and have everyone in Dipton. Say he did keep his 10 year old, his 12 year old, his 15 year old and his 17 year old in Dipton. Say he saw them only on Sunday night as per the above. He would in fact be costing the taxpayer more money. The taxpayer would be paying for all his additional flights, more then 150 extra per year as a bare minimum if you consider 1.5 extra return flights per week. And the taxpayer would be paying his accomodation, in any damn case!

        So to conclude, for all the above reasons, and more I could iterate, this is not a matter of yelling loudly defamatory things. They must be based on truth. And the legal and ethical truth is laid out above. So understand you pricks that this story is going to turn, and all this vitriol is not only unnecessary and unwarranted, but based on incorrect premises.

        • lprent 8.2.1.1

          He is correct when he says the system is not set up for him. It is not set up for the National party. The national party has over 20 school age children of Cabinet. The Labour party only had one.

          Don’t be a jerk-off. As you are probably aware most past ministers of all parties have had children at some stage in during their parliamentary careers. Phil Goff has a few who are now grown up, but who were children during his period in office in the 1980’s. Same with most past ministers. Most have left their families at home, visiting them in the weekend.

          What you are referring to is the relative inexperience of the national caucus. They largely have new ministers who have YOUNG children. Are you proposing a NEW standard. Should we apply this to all people who have to move outside their homes to work? I’m sure that employers are going to be happy with that being imposed on them.

          But the point is that we pay them a salary for a reason. It is to cover the normal family operations amongst other things. Bill English was abusing a separate system for handling ABNORMAL expenses. Basically he is by the definition of this post, acting corruptly.

          On the question of family trusts, I think that the legal basis of these should be abolished. I can’t see any real reason for having them apart from avoiding tax.

          • CuriO 8.2.1.1.1

            Not necessarily, although I am strongly of the opinion, that the workplace in general and employers should be more accomodating of families and children, and especially working mothers, where possible. Note of course, where possible and where it is mutually beneficial if that is possible.

            I do draw a distinction between the public as employees of a private employer and members of Parliament as employees of the public. As I stated members of Parliament certainly on the Right, and indeed some on the Left, forego a lot of career and personal opportunities as part of their representation.

            The price of representation needs to be addressed honestly. Therefore I believe the public should accomodate young families in parliemant. There is no necessity to punish MP’s by separating them from their families, so why do so?

            I firmly believe, like the current and all previous Speakers, that the price of parliamentary representation should not be the sacrifice of young families or marriages. I have no problem drawing a distinction between MP’s and everyone else on this for the above reasons. While many MP’s on the Left and some on the Right probably wouldn’t do that well outside parliament, we still elected them, and for the sake of the good ones like Michael Cullen and Key and Clark and English the distinction should be drawn.

            The whole point is that Bill has not claimed or suggested a new standard. How can you claim that his expenses are abnormal when where he ‘lives’ is a Legal question, answered by the Parliament, the former and present Speaker and Parliamentary Services as being Dipton? He has recieved and been measured by those institutions against precisely the same standard as every other minister for decades and decades. And he has met the standard. If he meets that legal standard then ipso facto he meets the ethical standard. Because as I say those institutions are the only measuring stick, as you will find when the AG exonerates him. Therefore what he did was not ABNORMAL at all! What he did was actually normal to the point of being banal. That is his entire point, that is why he did nothing wrong, and why it is all incorrect perception.

            On that other point if anything to do with MP’s were to be measured as against the standards of the media or the public they would all live in a student hostel and be paid slightly below the average wage. I think this would suit or have suited some of them. However for the sake of my countries dignity I will forego suggesting this seriously. And I do not think it should apply to worthy MP’s of either side. And Bill English is a worthy man and a worthy MP and has a lot of support.

            As to family trusts they are a time-honoured and useful means of preserving and protecting property for others. Family trusts written properly are intrinsically altruistic. Although I will admit that a lot of trusts these days are used to keep the husband or wife away from that relationship property… Still don’t throw the bath out with the bath-water.

            • felix 8.2.1.1.1.1

              where he ‘lives’ is a Legal question, answered by the Parliament, the former and present Speaker and Parliamentary Services as being Dipton

              You mean they asked Bill where he lives and Bill said “Dipton”.

              And they said “Rawly truly”? And Bill said “Yep, rawly truly”.

    • Lanthanide 8.3

      “No other tinpot country in the world would require their Deputy PM to pay for their own official residence.”

      I think the whole point is that if he weren’t the Deputy PM he would still be living in that house in Wellington anyway, and he would have to pay it out of whatever his salary from his job was, just like any other NZer, not as a bonus addition to his salary.

      Also what has really got peoples backs up is this ridiculous crap about “keeping my family together” – somehow 99% of the rest of the population can manage to pay their rent/mortgage out of their salary and wages which is a lot less than 200k, yet poor old Bill needs an extra $48k on top of that large salary, and if he doesn’t get it his family will be split up? Now that he has given back the money and stopped claiming the allowance, his excuse will be shown for how ridiculous it was, in that his family will proceed as they always have.

      • CuriO 8.3.1

        The point that is being made here is that he is not an average resident, he is an official person. As I said, no other tinpot country in the world, requires their Deputy PM to pay for their own official residence. No other country in the world. It is not a bonus addition to the salary, it is a fundamental and correct appendage that attaches to the official position. Corollary to being the Deputy PM in any country, whether it be Swaziland, Nigeria, Turkey, Mongolia,Samoa, Australia, the United states or any other state you can think of, is that the official is housed by the State. What Bill did on Monday is unprecedented internationally and nationally and really shows his character. He has taken an enormous financial hit here on no real basis other then incorrect perception.

        The above argument pertains to your point about keeping his family together. He should not in a million years be required to pay for his own official residence out of his own salary in the first place. That is just an incorrect view of the official position he is in. Sure the rest of the population do that. I do that. But we are not the Deputy Prime Minister, and nor are we his family.

        I also must argue that if he weren’t the Deputy PM he would not be living there. The rationale for him living in Wellington is to keep his family where his job requires him to be 48 plus weeks of the year. If he did not have the job, the necessity to live in Wellington would not arise. Therefore he would not live there.

        The expectation you are professing towards Bill is, though he is a Minister, somehow he should not be able to have what every other electorate Minister in this country for 100 years has claimed. This is the price of representation, which is the state contributing to Minister’s residence. This is fundamental to Democracy.

        The family most likely will not proceed as they always have. They are 70 thousand dollars poorer now to start with. And they have had their residence in Dipton and home in Wellington voyeuristically shown on the news for some weeks. All over what is legally, and indeed ethically, a non-story. So I disagree with you there also.

        • Lanthanide 8.3.1.1

          That’s a lot of bluster. You’re forgetting the fundamental problem here – ministers who normally reside in Wellington, who are also ‘official person(s)’, do not get money for their ‘official residence’.

          So, if the deputy PM happened to be someone who normally lived in Wellington, they would not get the extra housing money even though they were an ‘official person’. Bill claims that he does not normally live in Wellington, despite obvious evidence to the contrary that he has lived there since 1996.

          • CuriO 8.3.1.1.1

            That is incorrect. The Deputy Prime Minister of a state is entitled to the state contributing to his official residence. This is either through providing an official residence, or renumerating in some other fashion. That would be the case even if he were the MP for Wellington. The housing allowance was nuanced in it’s application. In the case of a Deputy PM, it is more to be thought of in terms of renumeration then compensation. This is just the way that Parliament has always operated, and Bill is being unfairly attacked for doing what everyone else has done for many many years which is unfair.

            And no, as I lay out above,his living arrangments are only questionable on any level at all from 2005. Otherwise any non-wellington electorate MP who rents or receives Crown contributions or has done is similarly culpable. That his wife worked in Wellington for a time and his kids attended school there is not salient. She worked in Lumsden for many years too, and his older kids attended school in southland also for many years. The rule should be that an electorate MP who owns a house in his electorate has that legally his place of residence, end of story. That is in fact the general interpretation of the rules, considering the time all electorate MP’s actually spend away from their electorates, especially high cabinet Ministers.

            The only possible time that can be held in question is the period from 2005 until the end of 2008. And for this period to say he has been unethical or illegal would be to retrospectively question not just the Attorney General, and Parliamentary Services, but also the Speaker. As he said, he has done nothing wrong legally, and as a corrolary, nothing wrong ethically, and it is all purely incorrect perception. The cost to the taxpayer would be largely the same regardless of how he arranged his circumstances. Saying he is a bludger for what he has gained via his job is like saying a Priest is a bludger for living in the Presbertery. It is a fundametnal, corrollary part of being a Priest, or an MP. Do you get it???

            And that isn’t bluster. That is a fundamental public law and constitutional argument, backed by policy arguments. This is the kind of thing the AG will be considering alongside the particulars of the Trust, given that her decision will have long term ramifications for the Parliament and all MP’s, especially those with families.

            • Pascal's bookie 8.3.1.1.1.1

              Goodness me.

              The Deputy Prime Minister of a state is entitled to the state contributing to his official residence.

              But this is his private residence, as you acknowledge when bleating about the fact that the media have been pointing cameras at it.

              An ‘official residence’ is a house usually owned by the crown, which the holder of an office is entitled to be housed in. That’s why it’s called an official residence. If Bill wanted to live in one, of course he could and one would be made available. But he chooses not to.

              All the bluster about how Nat’s could earn more in the private sector, is again, irrelevant. They weren’t drafted into office, they chose to stand. Bill represents a solidly blue electorate. For all intents and purposes the job is his as long as he wants it. That probably played some part in his decision to buy a property in wellington and move there.

              Related, all the talk about Dipton being his ancestral home where some of his kids went to school and so on, while true, is irrelevant. The test is not, ‘where is the home of your heart?’, but ‘where is your current primary place of residence?’ It is an objective test, based in the present tense, about where you would reasonably say a person’s current primary place of residence is. The allowance is not a part of remuneration. It is to recompense costs. Wellington based mp’s or ministers do not get it. It is for people who live in Wellington only when doing their official duties.

              You can certainly argue that perhaps that needs to be changed, but National didn’t try changing it.

              On the trust, did you read Vernon Small in this morning’s dompost?

    • Craig Glen Eden 8.4

      Hes claiming the out of town allowance when he lives in Wellington pure and simple he does not go home in the weekends to Dipton. Then he changes his status as a trustee which increased his entitlement but he cant explain why!
      Oh how convenient

      Give us all a break Curio do you think we are all stupid. Bill is not honest he is a bludger just like any one who arranges their affairs to get more from the state than they should be entitled to.
      Whats more your a joke for defending the indefensible. You wouldn’t happen to have a trust by any chance and be getting the working for families entitlement would you?

      • CuriO 8.4.1

        Craig, I misplaced my reply its down the bottom, have a read if you like. Presumably he changed his arrangement so he could tighten the Trust for the benefit of the beneficaries.

  9. Zaphod Beeblebrox 9

    Actually he’s been pretty inactive as Treasurer so far- hasn’t really done a lot either vis-a-vis creative stimulus spending or cutting of welfare/health/education.

    The most significant thing he has done has been to not proceed with the April 1 tax cuts, their has been no taxation reform and no mass sackings of teachers, nurses or welfare reductions.

    So in my view he hasn’t been the worst but he could have done a lot more to encourage sustainable economic growth. I’d vote to keep him, given who the alternatives are- especially if it keeps the ACT agenda away from decison making.

  10. Scribe 10

    Z,

    Do you feel big and strong hiding behind a pseudonym calling the deputy prime minister a “corrupt prick” or “an arrogant, unremorseful, lying prick”?

    You wonder why The Standard is becoming a left-wing lovefest…

    • snoozer 10.1

      Do you feel big and strong, Scribe? I assume that’s your given name.

      Do you think that Zet’s discription is wrong or are you just trying to silence the opinion because you’ve got no answer to it?

  11. Scribe 11

    snoozer,

    No, Scribe isn’t my real name. But I don’t use my online persona to defame a public figure, which is what Zet has done. You obviously condone that, which is your prerogative.

    • felix 11.1

      But I don’t use my online persona to defame a public figure

      Maybe not, but you’re likely a horrible embarrassment to the well known public figure who shares your name.

  12. CuriO 12

    No, where someone ‘lives’ in this case isn’t clear cut. What matters is where is someones place of residence as deemed by the Parliament. There are lots and lots of electorate MP’s of all parties who could be said to ‘live’ in Wellington on pretty reasonable criteria, but receive the accomodation supp. If Bill flew to Dipton every weekend for pure form, like childless MP’s do, would this change your mind? Pete Hodgson acted as though the fact he flew home on a weekend changed everything. Well National has 20 school age children of cabinet, and Labour has and had 1. If Phil Goff had any kids, and they went to school in Wellington because they wanted to see Dad who as the leader of the opposition can’t be in his electorate very much, would that mean Phil Goff ‘lived’ in Wellington for the purposes of the supplement? It is very easy for the MP’s with no kids. Bill is absolutely correct when he says the system is not set up for his situation.

    As I state this is just the price of representation for someone from a far-flung electorate. And relatively it is actually very low in New Zealand. There is a thing that can be loosely termed a power-command ratio. Frances is the highest. And ours is the lowest in the world. In France or Italy this money would be deemed trifling, and this entire issue puzzling, so it is good for people to exercise some perspective as to how important his actually is when people in Samoa are dying and the government is trying to help them, and deal with Climate change and education.

    For all the reasons I outline above I believe very strongly like a lot of people that Bill is not stained by this. I am absolutely rock solid that the only questionable period is from 2005 to 2008. This is non-contentious. Otherwise everyone in Parliament who rents or receives Crown contributions from a non-wellington electorate or done so formerly is liable.

    Craig you seem like a good fella. I know how trusts work and I can tell you that his trust raises no issues, as the QC pointed out. All we can do is await the Attorney General’s report.

    I know it is hard to understand but the Trust is separate from Bill. He is not a beneficiary. Money that goes into the trust is not his entitlement. He cannot access it. He cannot engage with the Trust. He cannot use the trust money to buy his groceries of pay for petrol. It is separate. And moreover it is irrelevant now anyway since there he has foresworn the money despite there being no legal or ethical necessity to do so, other then a public perception that he respects as a man of integrity and sincerity.

    If he had truley wanted to maximise his arrangements he could have rented out the family home for well over one thousand dollars a week. He could then have lived in an offical residence with the rent paid for by the taxpayer and the remainder going to him personally. This would have netted him much much more then what he got. And if it was well and truely about the money he would have left all the children in Dipton and cut out the minor policial fallout that attends a successful cabinet minister with a big family who can’t always be in Dipton.

    This could go either way. If the AG deems a full investigation necessary which is highly unlikely, he will step down. If she does not, and this issue arises again, it will really open a can of worms because Bill will no longer be defending what he shouldn’t have to but attacking what is now attackable.

    Peace

    • felix 12.1

      CuriO (interesting name btw)

      What motivates you so strongly about this issue?

      I mean I’ve never seen you here before, but you’ve essentially wallpapered this thread with your passionate defending of Bill English.

      It’s quite unusual.

      I honestly can’t be bothered reading most of it but what I’ve scanned is pretty spurious stuff (like English not having access to the trust – nice one).

      What’s your interest in this matter?

    • SPC 12.2

      O’ CuriO, it would take Cicero and the combined effort of the Curia to apologise for the lack of confession from Bill (no serious line of argument intended in making this frivolous and passing comment).

      Some thoughts on issues you have raised.

      1. We have certain public housing available which can be used by the PM, deputy, GG and or a few of the Ministers. So it would be a waste of assets not to make them available to these public office holders (or public servants – Chief Justice/Supreme Court judges etc).

      This does not mean that those with homes in Wellington already should be paid if they choose not use these public state owned homes.

      If the deputy PM from Dipton was himself serious about this line of argument (which John Key provided some time back) he would have made it himself to justify keeping the money.

      2. The technical criteria of the allowance is having to meet the extra cost of housing in Wellington because of the expectation of the MP meeting the primary cost of having family home in the electorate out of their salary as others do. Now I disagree with this, but it is the current criteria.

      {I think every out of Wellington electorate MP should be paid $24,000 pa housing allowance for the costs of having two houses – a place in their electorate and a place in Wellington – and the same amount applying for Ministers).

      What home does Bill English own “with his family” outside of Wellington? His only home outside of Wellington appears to be the English family farm – presumably co-owned with his siblings or in the ownership of some family Trust (not the owned home of him and his wife and children).

      So in every sense he is not providing for the cost of a home outside of Wellington (does any English Family Trust really charge him or other members of his birth family for staying there – are they ever there together and if so for how long each year?).

      The idea that the taxpayer was meeting the only housing (and cleaning bills) cost he and his family actually had – when both he and his wife had large salaries is a little disconcerting to the wider public.

      The only defence he had (John Key made it) was that he could have taken a public house and rented out the Karori home and thus should be paid for staying in his Karori home if that house was more suitable for his family. The problem is that the compensation to out of electorate MP’s was not designed for this purpose.

      The other question is about whether he should have received the money in the past. Speakers accepted his line about his primary residence being Dipton. I think that’s not the case.

      I do agree with the Finance Minister that his circumstance is outside the norm and thus problematic. I think the rules do need to be changed/simplified.

      MP’s and Ministers getting the $24,000 allowance to cover need to afford two places of accommodation (if rental *2 or rental + mortgage).

      Bill English would not qualify if he had no costs for “his Dipton home” out of his salary.

      If the out of Wellington electorate MP/Minister owned a home in both the electorate and Wellington – I would time limit the $24,000 allowance to 10 years from the point of owning two homes.

      3. If Mr English is fully accountable and in that shown to have operated within the law then I see no particular problem with him staying in his position. But I do not think he (and possibly a few others) should have received the allowance. And under my proposed rules a few others would miss out as well (many of the longer serving MP’s would end upowning a number of properties)

      PS John Key noted that one could still rort my proposed system by owning a second property outside of Wellington and still claiming the allowance via having a rental in Wellington (or their electorate) – if only this lot were as competent in spotting and adopting good government policy as the opportunity for a personal profit. But this would only apply to long term electorate MP’s aspiring to Ministerial office and one could have an associated register for properties owned by Ministers of the Crown directly or via Trusts to see who was out to rort the system.

  13. handle 13

    Being a legal “beneficiary” of the trust is a red herring.

    Pecuniary interest as defined in the relevant case law includes money going to his family not just English personally. Someone quoted it here a few days ago, didn’t they?

    If the trust was not being paid for his house, his family would have less to spend on other things. Things he benefits from as a member of that family.

    Just like an extra hours’ taxpayer-funded house-cleaning. What, none of his sprogs know how to work a vacuuum cleaner? They don’t have Jif in southland?

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