Key’s ministers still at the trough

Written By: - Date published: 9:25 am, May 5th, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: parliamentary spending - Tags: , ,

I’m not too worried about Judith Collins’ petrol bill for her self-drive car. I mean, sure it’s $476 a month, nearly twice that of any other minister and, sure, it’s pretty obvious that Collins is letting family members make extensive use of it – that $476 at $1.80 a litre gets 3000km at 9l/100km in her Mazda 6, she’s not driving 100km a day in her self-drive.

It is a rort but it’s small beer compared to the housing rorts that are still going on.

You’ll remember how Bill ‘Double Dipton’ English was caught claiming the out of town allowance for living in his family home in Wellington. It would have been a sacking offence in any other government, and probably for any other minister in this government too.

You’ll remember too, that as a result of the rorting by English and other ministers, new rules were introduced in September. Ministers based out of Wellington would be able to claim $37,500 a year, Wellington-based ones $30,000. So what’s going on?

According to the report of ministers’ expenses for the last two quarters (here and here) these eight ministers are claiming at a rate that is going to put them over the $37,500 limit. Some of them are way, way over.

It looks like nothing has changed. The Key’s ministers are still at the trough.

26 comments on “Key’s ministers still at the trough”

  1. All together now, one, two, three …


  2. Brett 2

    Maryan Street isn’t looking particularly good, pretty high travel costs for a list mp.
    Not that I am interested in the “My team good your team bad” bollocks.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      “for a list mp”

      I don’t really get this. List mps are elected. They have a constituency. They are not, nor should they be meant to be, voting machines whose only function is to turn up and vote in parliament.

      They represent all the voters that voted for the party. Parties are, and always have been, national organisations. I think it’s a good thing that we have mps that reflect that fact. I think it’s a good thing if each party has some list mps that keep in touch with national issues and travel about the place.

      I don’t know anything about Maryan Street’s expenses, but to say that they should be lower just because she’s a list mp? Weird.

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        Agreed PB.

        List MPs have a bigger constituency than an electorate MP. They are expected to represent various communities that are spread around areas much larger than any electorate, apart from perhaps the West Coast or some of the Maori electorates.

        There are from memory only three South Island based list MP’s, Maryan, Damien O’Connor and David Parker. The closest electorate MP to Maryan would be in Christchurch.

        She has a huge area to cover and the added responsbility of a front bench position.

        Of course real analysis will not stop criticism of her.

      • Brett 2.1.2

        Travel expenses for Maryan Street
        Jan 1 30 June 2009 (6 months) $34,842
        1 July 30 Sep 2009 $21,663
        1 Oct 31 Dec 2009 $10,950
        1 Jan 31 March 2010 $15,032
        Total (15 months) $82,487

        I have been looking at the members expenses for the last 15months, could someone please explain why Labours Members’ expenses are higher than Nationals?.
        The fact that Labour has less members in parliament and are in OPPOSITION tends to raise a few red flags and you have to question the validity of some of these expense claims.

        • gingercrush

          Because of the inherent differences. Labour MPs are spokespersons for policies that is entirely different to that of the National backbencer. Those people aren’t spokespersons. That is left to National Cabinet Ministers. Therefore, on top of representing electorates (or in a List MP sometimes representing several areas) and their roles on select committees for Labour MPs all of them have a role as a spokesperson. That is the key difference and why there is a difference in expenses.

          Maryan Street is Labour’s spokesperson on Trade, Tertiary Education and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. Those aren’t small areas of policy. They’re huge as should be expected for a member on the front bench.

          • Brett

            And here I was thinking they were rorting the taxpayer for as much as they could get.away with. 🙂

            • gingercrush

              Well she still could be troughing but I don’t think we should take expenses at face value.

              Personally, I think we deserve greater breakdown of expenses for all MPs in Parliament. What was the domestic travel or overseas travel used etc. That way we’d get accountability and instead of basing a lot of things strictly on how big expenses were. We’d actually have a greater understanding of a MP’s role etc. It won’t happen though. Had the scandal not happen in Britain we’d still be in complete darkness of how much MPs are actually spending.

              • bahandhumbug

                Why not just gas the all the retards in parliament no more worrying about troughing MPs, problem solved.

            • Jim Nald

              “gas the all”

              See ? This is the Decimator approach

              captcha: coffee
              (what ??? not the sprout’s coffee ?)

              • Jim Nald

                can someone help with correcting that link to coffee please?
                i worked out ok with the first one but not the second … and then time ran out
                you can remove this comment

                captcha: complicated
                well, i was getting there …

  3. ianmac 3

    Collins says. Its OK. Its within the rules. Suppose it is but 3,000 per month or 36,000 km per year. That is a hell of a lot of distance. Does her family take turns at driving, like a team of taxi drivers. Principle being abused? After all Collins makes great use of her Ministerial car as well.

    And why does the overclaim by Paula Benefit not surprise?

    • Bright Red 3.1

      maybe someone should release her private in the interests of having an informed public debate, of course.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.2

      She lives in a semi-rural electorate. Would not take long to empty a tank driving about Papakura.

  4. Can someone tell me what it is Georgina te Heu Heu does that warrants her expenses ?

    Shes just a token old maori woman in minor portfolios and largely missing in action on any real issues concerning them…isn’t she ?

    oh hang on…this just in

    That’ll hit the poor Pasifikans inclusive of Maori first. Yeah nice one Georgie. Poverty is a crime to fill up your new privately run jails with.

    good on ya…

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    Collins lives in Maraetai . So its a fair distance if you are travelling into the CBD EVERY DAY.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      But she spends most of her time in Wellington. She’s a minister. and when on Crown business she has the limos.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1.1

        I used that to show some family member is using it everday

        • Jim Nald

          Should we deploy a minister who is into bashing beneficiaries to train her sights on to ministerial beneficiaries and free-riders who live off taxpayers?

          • ianmac

            Good one Jim! She would show no mercy, and be her usual biting, sarcastic, arrogant self, but actually all for their own good of course!

        • Bright Red

          Oh, 🙂

  6. Herodotus 6
    Did not at the time a daughter of a Lab Min crash the minister ial car. And from this link there were 5 other instances of this occurring. Now in the real world I am not aware of this being OK’ed. Looks like one rule for us and other for them. Also to those contributors here yet another example of us good them bad. Can someone at least get some perspective They are ALL the same, giving us the bird. And the left = right. Gostwalker so what if you are happy with the past why point the finger now. Please gang up on ALL MP’s not just those who support OUR perspective.

    • bahandhumbug 6.1

      No no we must continue to support out team and forgive them all faults while screeching at the opposing team – that will surely make the MPs change their behaviour over time ……. oh wait, meet the new boss, same as the old boss

    • Ari 6.2

      Yes, all MPs should be careful with government property and expenses.

      But the fact that other MPs were bad does not excuse the government now.

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