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I live in Dipton!

Written By: - Date published: 8:39 am, October 2nd, 2009 - 78 comments
Categories: bill english, humour - Tags:

That last post was probably a bit dull for a Friday morning, so now for something completely different. I was a little surprised last night to see on Scoop the following worthy publication:

Plain English – No. 2, 2009

Welcome to Plain English, my regular newsletter aimed at Clutha-Southland residents. It covers local issues as well as national politics. I welcome your feedback on the content and any issues you’d like covered.

Youth Opportunities
While in Balclutha recently I visited South Otago High School and spoke to the Year 12 & 13 assembly. I met the head student …

I don’t recall seeing Plain English on Scoop before, and Google doesn’t seem to think so either*. In fact I don’t think I recall seeing any MP’s local newsletter on such a site. So why this one? Then I realised I was reading it wrong! What it really says is this:

Plain English – No. 2, 2009 – I live in Dipton!

Welcome to Plain English, my regular newsletter aimed at Clutha-Southland residents. I live in Dipton! It covers local issues as well as national politics. I welcome your feedback on the content and any issues you’d like covered. I live in Dipton!

Youth Opportunities
While in Balclutha recently (I live in Dipton!) I visited South Otago High School and spoke to the Year 12 & 13 assembly. I met the head student …

Makes much more sense now.

[* Update: My mad Google skillz let me down, there are several issues of Plain English on Scoop up until 2006.  So in that respect Mr English I withdraw and apologise.  It seems this is the first one since 2006 though – isn’t that odd?  I live in Dipton!]

78 comments on “I live in Dipton! ”

  1. Swampy 1

    This is the financial arrangement that Margaret Wilson approved as the Speaker, as well her successors.

    I don’t recall seeing that mentioned to date in any posting you have made.

    If you dig enough then MPs from all parties will be in similar positions, all approved by Parliamentary authorities. I think there is a point when the “I hate tories” rhetoric just becomes too one sided and boring.

    • Zetetic 1.1

      It’s not relevant that speakers have rubber stamped English’s rorting. They have taken him at his word.

      “If you dig enough then MPs from all parties will be in similar positions”
      careful making allegations like that with no evidence. Tim Ellis will be accusing you of defamation

    • burt 1.2

      It’s also not important that others have been doing it too. English is accountable for what he has done and what others have also been doing has nothing to do with it.

      We saw in the last govt some really myopic partisan people saying it was OK for political parties to rort tax payers money because they were not the only ones doing it… “Not fair to just prosecute one party when others did it too” was the call of the appologists.

      Don’t be like they were Swampy – you are better than that.

  2. Graeme 2

    I don’t recall seeing Plain English on Scoop before, and Google doesn’t seem to think so either. In fact I don’t think I recall seeing any MP’s local newsletter on such a site. So why this one?

    Because you haven’t looked!

    from scoop:

    Pansy speak

    Collin’s comments

    News worthy 🙂

    And most tellingly, you didn’t even look for “Plain English”. It’s been around for quite some time (relaunched recently after a break since entering government).

    Here’s an edition from 2002!

    And the first of six easily-found pages in (effectively) an archive:

    StandardFail? 🙂

    • burt 2.1

      To be fair to rOb, he only has one eye.

    • felix 2.2

      Interestingly, there’s nothing on scoop from “Plain English” since August 2006.

      Until now. I wonder why?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3

      But did you read the Dipton Diaries from 2002!!

      Its all about ‘ Where is Helen Clark?’ Nothing about the local traps? No surprise if you aint there.

      This is priceless, read with Key instead of Clark…

      “Where was Helen Clark when her Coalition was falling apart? Usually so accessible to the media, she was away making a travel programme and letting Michael Cullen face the hard questions. Next week, she will be overseas again leaving”.. Bill English in charge!!!!

      Ha HA HA

    • r0b 2.4

      Huh – right you are Graeme, Plain English has appeared on Scoop many times before, in that respect Mr English I withdraw and apologise. But according to felix this is the first one since 2006, gosh I wonder why?

      And the old copies don’t seem to be headed “Welcome to Plain English, my regular newsletter aimed at Clutha-Southland residents” – they are more like “Plain English: Column By Bill English” or “PLAIN ENGLISH – A WEEKLY UPDATE FROM BILL ENGLISH, LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY”.

      So here we have the first Plain English since 2006 remixed to sell Bill the Clutha-Southland boy. I stand by my “I live in Dipton!” reading!

      • Jim McDonald 2.4.1

        “regular” newsletter … I guess regularity is in the hand of the beholder hehe

        perhaps opportunistically regular?

    • Tigger 2.5

      Pansy Speak? So she can actually talk?

      By the way, to call something ‘regular’ when this is the second one for 2009 is pushing the limits of what ‘regular’ means. Rob is right, this is designed to make locals think that he’s their man. When in fact he’s a Wellingtonian. The only true FAIL here is from Blinglish.

      Ha ha – just read Worth’s slamming of codes of conduct – http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0706/S00300.htm As Alanis Morissette would say – ironic!

      • Rob 2.5.1

        I am a kiwi, born here , raised here, educated here and worked predominatly for a kiwi business. For three years I had an ex pat job in Shanghai, moved my family there etc. I was still a kiwi, I stayed in the Jiang Chang San Road, Zhabei District, but I lived in NZ, and NZ was and always will be home.

        I know I will get slammed for this post, but you cannot deny that his family has lived in that area for over 100 years and that they lived on a road named from his family surname. For some pople Home is where the Heart is.

        • Tigger

          But as others have said – Blinglish can call the moon home for all I care, doesn’t mean I should have to pay for it.

        • lprent

          The question isn’t where the heart is… The question is where he is actually residing and at the same time claiming a benefit for an out of town allowance.

          More pathetic diversion from the right *sigh*

        • Victor

          Rob, from a legal perspective it does not matter whether you called NZ home or not, question is whether you were tax resident in NZ at that time, i.e. was you primary residence still in NZ even though you were living in Shanghai? And I would guess not.

          This is the reverse of Bill English’s case, where he was claiming his primary residence was still in Dipton, even if though it no longer was.

          • Rob

            Yes I get this, I also understand the tax and locality issue. All I was trying to put forward is the case of home.

            Also I am not from the right, I have recently come to this website under advice from a friend. So I am not making a ‘pathetic diversion’.

            • lprent

              Yeah sure, but the issue here isn’t a question of ‘home’. It is a question of residence. As a taxpayer, while I might be interested in helping a MP maintain a residence when they are working away from their normal residence. I’m not prepared to do it for Mary and the kids.

              Perhaps Bill should find a flat…

      • ghostwhowalksnz 2.5.2

        Pansy Wong was a Christchurch based accountant when she was elected on nationals list. Immediately she shifted to Auckland to be near the bulk of Chinese voters. Apparently some MPs have no problem moving town when it suits them

    • I wasn’t taking any issue with r0b’s central point about this being designed to reconnect Bill English with his constituency and his home in Dipton. That was a point well made. I was just taking issue with his side point that:

      1. it was odd that a local MP newsletter would appear on Scoop.
      2. he had never seen Plain English on Scoop before.

      Those points were laughably wrong…

      • Tigger 2.6.1

        They were also side points.

        Eyes back on the ball – English does not live in Dipton. This ‘regular’ newsletter is by an out of Wellington electorate MP who is, and has been for years, a true blue Wellingtonian.

      • r0b 2.6.2

        Graeme is quite correct – I accept the mea culpa! I should do much better fact checking on my humour pieces I know…

      • burt 2.6.3

        Quick, retrospectively add humour to the tags for the post 😉

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    Would love to see the actual expenses claimed by English when he comes back ‘home’. Could there be many nights spent in Queenstown at public expense. Dipton being 3/4 hr down the road is not such a flash place afterall.

  4. toad 4

    rOb, Graeme’s right. There are quite a number of them, but I can’t find any between 2006 and the one you link to.

    This one makes particularly interesting reading. Just change the name from “Helen Clark” to “BIll English”, change a few words and number, and HEY PRESTO…

    Labour’s election expenses rort is starting to eat away at Helen Clark’s credibility as more of the story comes to light. She spent $400,000 of her publicly funded budget on the Labour pledge card, and then Labour failed to declare the spending as an election expense.

    The media haven’t caved in to Clark’s usual excuse for breaking the law – “I was too busy”. “I didn’t notice”. “It’s not important”. “Someone else did it”. “Time to move on”. The facts show that she must have known Labour’s spending would break the rules, but she went ahead anyway so Labour could spend another $400,000 in a tight election campaign.

    At the heart of the matter is Clark’s calculated disregard for the law. It’s not new. She has been investigated by the police in the Paintergate scandal and the Waimate speeding case. In each case she avoided answering questions from police and shifted the blame to other people. The police investigation into the expenses rort has just started, and Labour’s attempts to throw mud at everyone haven’t worked.

  5. JohnDee 5

    What is actually more offensive to me is not that Bill English is using dodgy tactics with regards to his Trust but the fact that he has the gall to claim for cleaning at all. Bill then again asks for another $20.00 per week. WTF, Bill a Politician, wife a doctor and they want us the public to pay for 3 Hours cleaning. Cheeky prick.

  6. Jim McDonald 6

    That 2006 Plain English piece is amazingly psychic?? The opening words are virtually instructive now for the author to consider for his own present circumstances. Have a look …

    Friday, 25 August 2006, 4:52 pm
    Column: New Zealand National Party
    Plain English – Thoughts from your MP for Clutha/Southland

    There is No Shame

    “The New Zealand public will ultimately decide the standards of public probity in politics. If they let [… get] away with … rort, then standards of transparency and honesty will drop across the board. … New Zealand politics stays clean because all politicians have presumed the public don’t tolerate corruption, and because politicians do not want the shame of being seen as anything but squeaky clean – until now that is. … believe that … can tough it out, that if … doesn’t admit any wrongdoing, the media will eventually drop it, and the public don’t really care. … doesn’t appear to believe the idea than any rules of public probity should get in the way of [the party’s] interests.”

    • Ianmac 6.1

      Through the power of Google now more than ever your words come back to haunt you. Bill. What goes around comes around. 😳

      • Ianmac 6.1.1

        And even more relevant since Key and others so often start their answers to questions with “Back in 1988 Phil Goff said…..” I wonder if Trevor or someone could use the above hypocritical comments of Bill’s, to taunt him during question time? 👿

    • outofbed 6.2

      he should now resign just on the strength of that
      or do we now add hypocrite to the growing list?

    • burt 6.3

      So another way to look at this – English’s apologists have a wealth of material available to defend him as well.

      He should resign ! (I’m waiting for his apologists to call me thick then tell me others were doing it too)

  7. toad 7

    I see that Double Dipton is claiming that the “family home” in Dipton is untenanted. Guess that leaves two possibilities – someone is living there for free who could well be paying rent, or it is empty. The latter is possible, but it does seem a bit strange to leave a property empty for years if you could be getting rent from it.

    Any Standard readers living in the vicinity up for a fact-finding mission to see exactly who, if anyone, lives there. It’s at 179 English Rd, Dipton West.

  8. outofbed 8

    If it is empty It would make a great squat

  9. HitchensFan 9

    OMG the first comnment just CRACKED me up with its irony
    “I think there is a point when the “I hate tories’ rhetoric just becomes too one sided and boring.”

    Obviously this commentator hasn’t spent any time on Kiwiblog reading the demented rantings of the likes of Redbaiter, Big Bruv, Brian Smaller and the little narcissistic nutter Dad4Justice.

    I mean, if the commentator had, he would have realised that Tories NEVER attack lefties per se. there’s always a well-reasoned, well-thought out argument behind their comments……..

    LMFAO! God I love how ironic Tories can be

  10. Craig Glen Eden 10

    I have this image of the Mitre 10 add.

    Phil “what are you doing in the weekend Bill” ?

    Bill ” Cleaning”

    Phil doing it your self?

    Bill “nah paying some bloke”

    Phil “Oh come on mate do it yourself”

    Phil ” Hey Johnsie give us a hand in the weekend Cleaning Bills place”

    John” Mate your dreaming”

    Phil “Tories, no surprises there”

  11. The Baron 11

    Trying to be as bipartisan as possible here…

    … but I’m not sure what the left is actually seeking here. Standing aside from some of the attack politics, can we have a look at the facts and principles.

    Being an effective electorate MP requires you to spend some time in your electorate. Bill has been MP for Wallace/Clutha Southland since 1980 (according to Wikipedia). I doubt he could have kept that for 29 years without maintaining some sort of profile in the area (though it is probably one of the right-est seats in the country). So his electoral history suggests that he has spent at least some time on the ground maintaining his support base. I think that rules out this “I only publish newsletters to prove I live there” angle – really r0b, you usually do better than that. It all sounds pretty similar to every other electorate newsletter that I’ve received in the 6 electorates I’ve lived in (i.e. vacuous, self-serving publicity that goes straight to the bin!)

    Which brings me to my second point… regarding what outcome we are looking for here. An electorate MP needs to spend time in his electorate. As a minister too, they need to spend time in wellington. We set allowances for these things, so they can maintain reasonable living standards in both areas. if we didnt do that, it would be challenging to be both an electorate MP and a minister; OR heaps more expensive to be an electorate MP. Wow, the life of a list member looks even more attractive on that basis!

    Sooo… whats the problem again? Are you suggesting that such “double dipping” is a bad idea, when it seems to me that it is pretty bloody essential? How is this different to other Ministers (in this Govt, the last, the 80s, whatever) who have far-flung electorates?

    If it is all down to the primary residence thing, then isn’t that a bit sh!t? As finance minister, do we really want him to spend the majority of his time in Dipton? How would that be a good thing?

    Or if its down to the house ownership thing, then wow… I’m led to believe that politicians of all hues indulge in that RORT. But we can hardly criticise English alone there…

    So, what have I missed?

    • toad 11.1

      What you have missed is that English declared 179 English Road, Dipton West as his “primary place of residence”.

      The declaration form (PDF) spells out what primary place of residence means, including: “Is this residence the place that you would normally go to when you are not on parliamentary business”.

      English presumably ticked “YES” to that question to qualify, when in reality he goes to his home in Karori with his wife and kids when not on parliamentary business.

      • The Baron 11.1.1

        Ah, I had that the wrong way around then… so on the basis that I outlined, that is a bit shit then, isn’t it!

        • Tigger

          Also, he’s been the MP in the area since 1990, not 1980. Still, 19 years is impressive. I would not underestimate the sense of entitlement that had aided his election there Baron. The English family are well-known in the area and it’s easy to convince the people that Bill ‘deserves’ or ‘owns’ the seat by virtue of their history there.

    • lprent 11.2

      Sooo whats the problem again?

      Sooooo why are the taxpayers paying for Mary and the kids to live in their own home? It is (as you point out) good to pay an allowance for MP’s to have a residence in Wellington when they work away from their primary residence. That is what the allowance is for.

      However this is Bills primary residence. Following your logic, let Bill get a small flat in Balclutha. Then the taxpayers are not paying for freeloaders sucking on the tax-funded teat.

      However before he does that, he should pay back the last 20 years of rorting the taxpayers.

      • toad 11.2.1

        Possibly not the full 20 years Lynn. I have no doubt that there was a period when 179 English Road, Dipton West was his primary place of residence after English first entered Parliament.

        But that was a long time ago.

        And if he did fill the form in stating that the property in Dipton is the place he would normally go to when he is not on parliamentary business, there is a legal term for that. It starts with F.

        If I were to apply to Work and Income for and accommodation supplement, stating I owned no property other than the one I live at, and it were later discovered that I actually did own other property so had collected an accommodation supplement I was not entitled to receive on the basis of a false declaration, I would very likely be prosecuted.

        I wonder if the Police could investigate English in that regard – or does parliamentary privilege preclude that?

        • lprent

          Ok probably not the full whatever years. But by the sound of it for much of the 90’s and since he was fully resident in Wellington, and claiming a out of town allowance.

          Most of the electorate MP’s I’ve run across have their residence in or reasonably close to their electorates (and before some wingnut chimes up – Papakura is pretty damn close to Mt Roskill via the motorway). They have a smallish flat in Wellington often with other MP’s. Most list MP’s do much the same, they stay resident in their preferred place of residence, and have accommodation in Wellington for when they are sitting.

          Now this includes the ministers, prime ministers, etc I have known.

          Why exactly has the representative from Dipton thought that he can top up his salary with a substantial out-of-town living allowance for his own home? Effectively he has got the state to provide rent/mortgage free accommodation for his family, while getting taxpayers to provide the leverage for a family trust to accumulate capital. It is a gross misuse of the allowances.

          In fact this is so much of a rort that I’d suggest that the accommodation allowances get abolished entirely. It is apparent from Bill’s statements that he can’t see anything wrong with all of this. If that attitude is widespread amongst MP’s and ministers (especially finance ministers) then it is time to remove the temptation. Pay the MP’s a generous increase in salary of say 10k per year and let them pay for their own accommodation.

  12. outofbed 12

    Yeah maybe Parliamentary services should build a 110+ well appointed apartments in a complex with maybe a choice of one or two bedrooms. Make them available to out of town MP’s. Rent free If you don’t want to live there then..
    Make your own arrangements and pay for them yourself
    The apartments would always belong to the state and you are defined as an out of town Mp if you spend most of your weekends outside of Wellington

    Bill wouldn’t qualify

  13. Swimmer 13

    Mwahahahaha! Blinglish is going down 🙂 Unless he does live in Dipton, you know, the new suburb in Wellington. Let’s face it, his house is sooo big that it surely must have it’s own suburb zone it fit into!

    • NickS 13.1

      Hot off the science-press, physicists have just found that Bill English’s Wellington house is actually in the first ever confirmed, very macro state of quantum supposition, simultaneously being both in Dipton Southland, and Wellington.

      Physicists involved speculate however that this state emerged only due to legal fiction, and believe this state will collapse come official inquiries due to Schrödinger-cat, consequently possibly destroying English’s political status due to the laws of conservation of energy, matter and government money.

      /bad-science humour.

      • Tigger 13.1.1

        Well if it collapses in upon itself then at least it won’t need cleaning…I suspect it will be sucked into the black hole that is Blinglish’s political career before any of that happens…

  14. Swimmer 14

    :LOL: 👿

  15. Ianmac 15

    Tonight National Radio 6:40 Brent Edwards gave his usual well-balanced review of the English affair. It should appear as podcast in due course.

  16. toad 16

    This weekend’s g.blog quiz –

    There is only one question:

    Who lives here?

    Greenfly is disqualified from participating, because he may be appointed the final arbiter on the decision.

    The judge’s desision (ie mine) is final, and evidence will need to be provided to satisfy me of a correct answer.

    So go for it! All answers on the g.blog thread linked above please.

  17. toad 17

    Hey, I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for Bill. He’s getting such a hard time from us all.

    So I’ve posted a song for him. Not my first choice, but it’s appropriate anyway.

    • Jim McDonald 17.1

      Thanks for that greenvoices website. Btw does someone know what the Southland and Wellington City Council records say? The online versions do not have names of ratepayers.

      • Daveosaurus 17.1.1

        Land ownership is a matter of public record (unlike rating matters which are subject to the Privacy Act) so you would be best advised to contact Land Information New Zealand for advice.

  18. outofbed 18

    Just read this rather lengthy.. thread starts off about who”s claiming what b4 moving on to Bill
    I would have thought that Bill would have had more supporters in that sort of forum
    but no he seems to be universally vilified
    He just has to go now
    I can’t see how he can stay

    • Jared 18.1

      When this scandal broke it was also revealed that Phil Goff owns and rents out an apartment in Wellington whilst claiming an allowance for another residence from Parliamentary Services. He claims he is trying to sell it, is he? Has it sold yet?

      • Ianmac 18.1.1

        Goff said some weeks back that yes his flat was up for sale but he had a tenant that he had to consider.

  19. burt 19

    English is starting to look untidy here. Who’s got the nerve in National to stare down Lyn Provoft. I’m drawing a blank, if it all heads south the ‘ref made a bad call’ option looks like a one way road to Dipton for English. Ironic really because that would prove parliament was holing him and his family in Wellington. While unimaginable for most of us that our employer might pay such a generous entitlements, it is what it is at parliament.

  20. Swimmer 20

    Who lives in his Dipton house? Worth a trip down to find out isn’t it. I think it’s some hobbo, probably an underpaid cleaner (needed that extra $20), and her stoner toy boy, who frankly Bill should thank for keeping out the looters. (Though in reality he’s secretly protecting his pot patch). 😀

  21. Ianmac 21

    Blips quote from Bill: ” Door to door its an eight to ten hour round trip between here any my electorate.”
    Just looked it up on a random day.
    Air NZ Wellington to Invercargill: 2hr 45min. + 60km road trip to Dipton (at normal speed) if Mrs English met him. Say 3hr 30m total. I suppose it sounds more if you say round trip or even double round trip if you had to go back because you forgot to pay the cleaner.
    I think that most of the distant MPs have similar travel times.

    • burt 21.1


      Of course if Bill says “hurry hurry or I’ll miss the rugby” that 60km of road travel would be over in about 20 minutes. His driver would be charged for it – but hey at least the deputy PM would be blameless and get to where he wants to be quickly.

      • Armchair Critic 21.1.1

        He would never cover 60km in 20 minutes. I am sure he would be looking out the window at the scenery that he had fond memories of, but hadn’t seen for so long. So he would notice how fast they were going.

  22. Ianmac 22

    As he arrives home the children will be lined up in order of size whilst facing them will be staff including several cleaners and as he walks towards them they see that he is dusty and travel stained.
    “Good evening Sir,” they speak in unison.
    Then Bill turns wearily to start the long return jouney that he must take for the sake of his country.
    “Bye Sir,” they all cry in unison, all except the youngest who says. “Who was that man?” 😯

  23. SPC 23

    We don’t know who lives there – but we can know via White Pages that S W English pays the phone bills.

    But that M(ary) and S English share the phone in Karori (I guess working as a doctor and raising up children in Wellington she does not get to Dipton much to Bills primary residence.

    If Bill owns the Dipton house – then he can claim it’s his “primary electorate” house but he lives in Wellington to be “with his family” most of the time. So his primary home and his families home just happen to be in different places.

    Call me even handed, but I don’t see what he has done as any worse than another long term MP owning two homes – one in his elecvtorate and one in Wellington and having the cost of owning the second home paid for the taxpayer (they get paid the mortgage interest cost instead of the rent cost up to the maximum allowance claim).

    PS Whether Goff lived in the Wellington home he owned and claimed the allowance for the mortgage cost or rented it out and claimed the allowance for rent of another house makes little difference to the taxpayer (however the reason might be he has been an MP for so long he near owns the Wellington house and pays little or no mortgage).

  24. toad 24

    Seems that Bill is at pains to identify with Dipton as his home these days. A NZ Herald article on the Pacific tsunami last Thursday reported:

    Mr McCully liaised with Samoan and Tongan ministers yesterday while Mr English flew north from Dipton, in his Clutha-Southland electorate, back to Wellington.

    Now last time I was in Dipton, it didn’t have an airport. And I don’t think pork barrel politics in NZ is that bad that Bill would have managed to get one built for his personal use in the last 9 months.

    Bill would have flown from Invercargill. But I guess he just had to get into the story that he had been in Dipton.

  25. SPC 25

    Its classic boarding school behaviour has his wet dreams during the week and goes home at the weekends and plays the innocent.

    Except in those days his parents paid for the board and more recently it’s been the taxpayer.

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