Earlier this year, John Key stated: “I’ve told [my ministers] if they want to take their partner, they can do it, but they pay for it’.
It emerged last week that Rodney Hide, Peter Dunne, David Carter, Phil Heatley and, it is thought, Maurice Williamson and Judith Collins had used taxpayer funds to pay for their spouses’ international flights, a clear and direct violation of Key’s edict.
Key failed to exercise any discipline over his ministers but, as a result of determined media questioning, Rodney Hide has apologised for taking tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for holiday flights with his girlfriend. He has repaid the money to took.
Now, will the other ministers live up to the same standard? Or will they keep on troughing under Key’s smiling gaze?