News yesterday that:
John Key shortens Japan trip for Northland by-election
Prime Minister John Key is to cut short his state visit to Japan to campaign in the Northland by-election.
On Monday afternoon Key announced that next week he will travel to South Korea to witness the signing of New Zealand’s free trade agreement, and then on to Japan for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But he admitted that the trip was shorter than initially planned to allow him to have a final push in Northland ahead of the March 28 vote.
So our PM is cutting short state business for the purposes of party campaigning. Since Key invented the whole silly hats game, I guess it’s fair to ask if he still gets paid as PM when he is acting in his capacity as Party Leader? If so, why?
Likewise for a horde of Nat MPs perhaps. From the same piece:
National has reacted by sending wave after wave of MPs and ministers to the electorate. Conservation Minister Maggie Barry visited the electorate on Saturday, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce visited on Monday (in place of Deputy Prime Minister Bill English) and Energy Minister Simon Bridges is due to travel to Northland on Wednesday. Along with the ministerial visits, a number of backbench MPs have also travelled to Northland, appearing to provide assistance for Osborne on the road. A Beehive staffer from Local Government Minister Paula Bennett’s office is on leave providing assistance full time.
[Key] dismissed questions about whether the resource National was throwing into the by-election – during a period when Parliament is sitting – saying all travel was within the rules and Peters had been absent from Parliament all of last week. “The rules are really, really clear. A minister is free to use both air travel and ground travel any time they want, and in the middle of an election campaign, I’d use my ministerial limousine,” Key said. “MPs are free to fly any time they want, there are no restrictions and Parliamentary purposes required.”
Once the dust has settled someone needs to put in an OIA and find out how much National’s Northland panic ended up costing the taxpayer. It may all be within the letter of the rules, but these are certainly the sorts of questions that Nats like to ask of other parties, so let’s ask them back.