Colin Espiner: “To start with the ironical, Acting Prime Minister Bill English had no sooner hauled his protesting family back to Dipton for the parliamentary recess to prove that it was still really his home than he had to come straight back to Wellington again [to deal with the tsunami].
It neatly illustrated his argument, I thought. You can’t run the country – or the economy for that matter – from Dipton. And even though the quake struck early in the morning, it was around 3pm before English finally got back to Wellington.”
No-one is trying to force English to live in Dipton. Certainly no-one is recommending running the country from there.
English has chosen to live Wellington nearly all his adult life (he also went to boarding school there) and that’s absolutely fine in and of itself. But because he lives in Wellington he wasn’t entitled to take the allowance meant for out of town ministers. And he shouldn’t have altered his family trust arrangementsto allow him to do it.
It’s got nothing to do with Dipton.It’s about a person placed in a position of trust abusing that trust and exploiting loopholes to take money that wasn’t intended for them.