I’m sure you noticed Hide’s latest shenanigans – getting his partner taxpayer subsidised international flights despite Key’s directive not to. Key (surprise, surprise) is ‘comfortable’ with this because Hide used Parliamentary not Ministerial funds.
Hide was taking a jaunt around London and Toronto to see other ‘Supercities’ close-up (unfortunately, he ignored the lessons). It was a ministerial trip but we paid $25,000 for his girlfriend via Hide’s MP perks: “I didn’t pay as minister, so this was, if you like, within the rules as an MP” – another bizarre blending of his ministerial and political roles.
Remember, Key’s original line on the policy was: “I’ve told them if they want to take their partner, they can do it, but they pay for it”. But now it turns out that Ministers can get the taxpayer to pay for it through another fund, meaning that the savings to the taxpayer (the point of the policy, remember) mostly disappear into the pockets of Government Ministers.
The more terms a minister has been an MP, the larger the subsidy they can claim. Here are the actual subsidy rates, made clear only after the real policy was outed by Hide:
|No. of Ministers||1||7||4||2||14|
So it turns out “they pay for it” actually means “taxpayers pay for 90% of it” for half of all Ministers.
Another example of Key sounding bold but acting weak.
[hat-tip: Rob Salmond]