It was only a matter of time until some reporter copied the silly mutterings from the Right about how Phil Goff and Labour’s ‘Axe the Tax’ bus tour is paid for.
Yes, it’s taxpayer funded and, yes, that is perfectly legitimate. I honestly can’t understand why Claire Trevett thinks it is a good idea to punish a political party for using its Leader’s Budget for legitimately communicating its positions with the public.
Do we want to live in a country where parties have to rely on private funding for everything? Do we really want to turn politics into even more of an exclusively rich man’s game? Democracy isn’t free.
It’s a bit disappointing that there is a lack of balance in the article too. It mentions that Anne Tolley is on her own one-person bus tour around the country but we are not told how much that is costing or who is paying for it. Seems like one standard for Labour and another for National.
It’s pretty rare that I agree with John Key but he got it right last week when he voiced concern that journalists were getting sloppy on the spending issue. It’s perfectly right for the media to hunt out rorts and rip-offs but what’s the point of criticising MPs simply on the amount they have spent in doing their job?
Reports from Parliament tell me that some MPs are now wasting a lot of their time and their staff’s time trying to minimise their published expenses. It results in a kind of false economy – we don’t get the value out of the MPs and their staff we could but they are rewarded by not being singled out for their spending.
Look, it’s not as if there aren’t enough actual abuses of taxpayer money and other rorts to keep the media going. Half the Cabinet have been caught with their hands in the till already and enterprising journos could get plenty of material trying find out what MPs have hidden in their trusts.
By all means root out corruption but don’t punish MPs for using their budgets to do their jobs.