As I alluded to yesterday, the claims from John Key that he has slashed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the cost of ministerial housing are rubbish. The media did a pretty good job of exposing the lie (except TV3 who just had some junior reporter toeing Key’s line).
Here’s how it works. Ministerial services put up four options for Cabinet to choose from. Option 1 was the status quo. Option 4 was the automatic payment of $37,500 plus sell the crown houses. Key came up with a fifth option – $37,500 and don’t sell the houses but he tried to pass off the savings from Option 4 as the savings from his option:
TVNZ worked it out to a $40,000 saving, I get $88,000 extra cost because the admin costs aren’t really going to come down if the crown houses aren’t sold.
Key kept up the lies today, when asked by Fran Mold about this savings claim he double counted the supposed savings in admin costs. He has failed to produce an accurate costing of his scheme, forcing us to estimate instead. As Fran diplomatically put it ‘the costs keep changing from hour to hour’. It’s actually Key’s typical mode of operation – keep it vague and try to hide the truth.
So, Key’s lying about the savings but, for once, the media weren’t bamboozled by the numbers, they saw right through him. Even if Key were telling the truth about savings the fact would remain that his scheme still allows Bill English to continue rorting us and, worse, it gives a bonus payment to the nine ministers who are currently spending less than $37,500.
Of course, if these ministers chose not to rort us we really will save money. So, I’ll ask the question again: why don’t National’s ministers just stop ripping us off?