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Life in the fast lane

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, May 6th, 2011 - 28 comments
Categories: accountability, bill english, john key, national - Tags: , ,

What a massive sense of entitlement these Nats have. Bill English rorting the taxpayer for tens of thousands in accommodation allowances by pretending that he lives in Dipton. (After Key “reformed” the allowance system, and just as we predicted, ministers are claiming even more cash.) Murray McCulley ignoring the advice of other ministers to rack up more than $60,000 in costs using defence force aircraft to fly him to and from Vanuatu. Phil Heatley using his chauffeur driven car to run round after his family holiday. Pansy Wong abusing the the MPs travel perk. John Key himself, with his love of helicopters (both military and private), and now his latest $800,000 blow out on personal escort services (of the diplomatic kind). And of course the bum warming BMWs, the list goes on and on.

Last night we learned of the latest entry in this roll call of largesse, take a bow Judith Collins:

Collins’ taxpayer-funded petrol bills top $11,000

Police Minister Judith Collins has spent more than $11,000 of public money running her taxpayer-funded car for private use. An investigation by 3 News has found Ms Collins has not broken any rules by spending that much, but it does come on top of her use of a chauffeur-driven limousine and a salary package of $264,000. …

When asked why her petrol bills are so high, Ms Collins answered: “All my petrol bills are within the rules”.

Those rules have seen Ms Collins spend $11,536.96 of taxpayer money on fuel since National took power. That’s about $220 a week from the public purse for her Mazda 6. “If you look at where I live and the travel I have to do, that accounts for it,” she says. But Ms Collins spends a lot of times in her chauffeur-driven BMW. The rules say the “self-drive” car can be used “at the member’s discretion”. That means someone else can use it.

But when questioned on just who uses the car, Ms Collins reiterated – over and over again – “all the use of my vehicle is within the rules”.

The Nats sure do like their life in the fast lane don’t they. The reason that Collins can only keep repeating that the spending is “within the rules” is because she knows it’s wrong. It’s wrong to let your family members bill their petrol to the taxpayer, whether the rules allow it or not. Remind me again now, who was it that said:

It is all within the rules, but so were most of the rorts in the UK. As David Cameron said, the issue is not the rules, but whether the behaviour is ethical and correct.

Indeed.

28 comments on “Life in the fast lane ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    “Crusher” to be revealed as a petrol siphoner? Go for it journos, who is actually driving that car?

  2. ianmac 2

    It is simply not a good look. It is her entitlement. It is legal.
    The idea behind not having to fill in chits/receipts/re-reimbursements is a good one and “at the Ministers discretion” good also.
    But I bet it was never intended for such extravagant use as this. In effect Mr Collins (?) is getting so far, a tax-free $11,536.96 package. (Wonder if the IRD would be interested?) How does it stand up against the $200 spent on flowers by Mr Carter?

    • Blighty 2.1

      there’s the other side to this. Mapp and Joyce have low petrol bills because they often pay for the petrol themselves. But Tolley’s car just sits in a garage in Wellington. A $60,000 car that she’s driven maybe 1000km a year. So, we’re taking a big depreciation hit on an essentially useless asset (the car, not Tolley)

      Now, this isn’t to say that they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The point is that if you’re going to have a self-drive car funded by the taxpayer you should need it and only use it for trips that it is appropriate for that the public pays for.

      Collins shouldn’t be letting her husband drive her self-drive and charge the eptrol to the taxpayer and nor should Tolley make us shoulder tens of thousands in depreciation on a car she doesn’t need.

  3. s y d 3

    It aint Mrs Collins……
    Theres a few tanks of gas there – $11500 spent – assume $2 a litre for gas gives you 5750 litres.
    Mazda 6 approx 8.6l/100km, so by my dodgy reckoning that cars likely done around 70000k in 2 years.
    Lets say the average speed is 50km/h, means someone has been driving that car 1400 hours. Thats about 2 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year….surely she doesn’t live that far out of Papakura..

    taking the piss yet again

    • Blighty 3.1

      she’s a minister, she works in Wellington most of the time. She’s hardly ever at home to drive the car. It simply can’t be her driving 14 hours per week.

    • Armchair Critic 3.2

      Hopefully Steven Joyce won’t see this thread and decide Judith Collins needs a Road of National Significance to cut her commuting time cut down.

  4. Lew 4

    Burnouts sure rip through a bit of gas. Someone shoop Judith Collins in a lowered fast-4 with blue flashing lights on the underside. Sideways baseball cap for extra win.

    L

  5. vidiot 5

    TV3 Math FAIL…. “Those rules have seen Ms Collins spend $11,536.96 of taxpayer money on fuel since National took power. That’s about $220 a week from the public purse for her Mazda 6. ”

    $11.5K over 28 months (assuming Nov 08 to Mar 11) = $410.00 per month, which is under $100 a week. $100 buys you 45 litres of petrol (at today’s prices). Mazda 6 has a 64 L tank. So wtf, we are quibbling about 2/3rd’s of a tank a gas per week.

    If as she states, ‘all of the use was within the rules’, shouldn’t we be looking at who wrote the rules ?

    • joe90 5.1

      2/3rd’s of a tank a gas per week.

      Using my google foo I reckon that 40 litres a week works out to be enough to cover a school run.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.2

      “at today’s prices”

      Why?

    • GorjusGeorge 5.3

      Won’t the figures that TV3 used relate to what’s been reported in a financial year? $11536.96 divided by 52 = just over $220.

      The ‘quibble’ is about the hypocrisy of a party which crucifies people who it claims have illegally or unethically spent ‘taxpayers’ money’.

      I’d ban all perks, no subsidised travel of any sort for spouses or other family members – if we need to tighten our belts, let the politicians lead by example I say.

      • M 5.3.1

        GG, mostly agree.

        For city dwellers cabs would suffice and it provides employment for a cabbie.

        For those in truly rural regions a self-drive car but they would have to foot the bill for fuel.

    • Blighty 5.4

      She wasn’t buying petrol at today’s prices two years ago, genius.

      And it’s a 24 month period., last two calander years, during which MED says petrol averged $1.70 per litre.

      So, we’re actually talking about a full tank of gas a week costing over $100 and enough to drive from the family home to Auckland and back every day, with gas to spare.

      Since Collins spends her week days in Wellington, she’s clearly not 700km a week in that car herself.

      So, vidiot, face the reality that we are paying for Collins’ husband to commute to his job in Auckland and back, plus weekend trips. And tell me, is that something the taxpayer should be covering?

  6. felix 6

    Stupid Colllins.

    If she hadn’t been so greedy she woulda gotten away with a free car for her hubby.

    But no, a free car for her hubby wasn’t enough for this trougher. She had to send us the petrol bill too.

    Stupid, greedy, arrogant, out-of-touch, troughing hypocrite Collins.

  7. Collins does not live in the real world when it comes to living on her wages. Anything for free and she has shown how greedy she is. I also find her to be selfish and out of touch when it comes to making do with only what you need to take from the tax payer.

  8. I was writing my post below when you were posting. I would like to add the word parasite, our posts show that we have a similar view.

  9. Robb 9

    Who’s ever filling the car must have to sign off on the ‘Fleet Card’ purchase. Could that information be request through official channels. Hopefully that would clear things up but certainly from the outside it looks like the car is generally being used for other travel over and above ‘Self Drive’ (to the airport for flights to Wellington & other official business).

    • Treetop 9.1

      1. Has the use of a chauffeured limo. (May include outside Wellington).
      2. Has the use of a self drive car.
      3. Probably is also entitled to taxi chits?

  10. Alwyn 10

    They are perfectly entitled to have their family drive the cars.
    Don’t you remember when Annette King let her daughter have the car to transport her boyfriend and a lot of illegal drugs around the North Island?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1

      That was when we were repaying the money rather than borrowing $300 mill per week .
      Also remember ‘that guy’ in charge of the money who said its time to kiss ‘nice to haves’ goodbye, of course he didnt really mean his colleagues

  11. randal 11

    unfortunately that is why most of the nats are in parliament because they cant make it in business for a variety of reasons. no money, no brains, neanderthal tendencies. however they are the slyest of the sly and consider being in parliament not a way to make our country better but as a path to peculation and pelf.
    that is the difference between labour and national and collins is the worst exemplar of a tory greedy. they either forget or dont know that other people can and more importantly do read books where personality and pathology is described and their case histories are the worst.

  12. randal 12

    ooooh alwyn how much is hooton paying you to trot out all that stuff?

  13. Blue 13

    “That doesn’t make it right” well yes it does – within the rules means its absolutely right. Outside the rules means it wrong. This is a simple concept even my 5 year old can understand. Socialists it seems, have some difficulty with the concept.

    @Alwyn illegal drugs man, illegal drugs transported in a car paid for by the taxpayer. Is this within the rules?

    • “It is all within the rules, but so were most of the rorts in the UK. As David Cameron said, the issue is not the rules, but whether the behaviour is ethical and correct.”

  14. ghostwhowalksnz 14

    This has come out before.
    She lives in Maraetai and a family member uses it to do the daily commute to the city.
    160 K a day for that journey alone.
    You’d wonder if the engine ever got cold ?

  15. North 15

    Endora (“Bewitched”) Collins with the cruel, sly smile has always been and always will be a self promoting, selfish thing. I know. I remember her as a nothing lawyer who somehow slid like a lizard into the presidency of the Auckland District Law Society. Obviously a hypocritical thing as well. “Let Them Eat Cake” type of thing.

    Typical Tory, just like Dame Hilda Ross the ugly Tory crone of the 50s from Hamilton who identified “bastard” children as a mark of God’s wrath vented against their trollop mothers. Disgusting, disgusting woman. Just like Endora

    Karma will have it’s say !

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