Nats’ sense of entitlement behind credit card abuse

Written By: - Date published: 6:42 am, February 24th, 2010 - 40 comments
Categories: corruption, parliamentary spending - Tags: , , ,

So, yet more first strikes for a couple of National ministers, this time Gerry Brownlee and Phil Heatley, and another blind eye turned by John Key.

I don’t believe for a second that Brownlee or ‘crocodile tears’ Heatley were ignorant of the rules of using ministerial credit cards. They’ve got business backgrounds. Well, OK, Brownlee was a woodwork teacher and, according to his bio, Heatley was a “textbook author, Managing Dairy Farm Effluent” but still. They should know about not using work expenses for private activities. And it was all laid out in the Ministerial Services handbook.

I reckon they knew full bloody well they was playing fast and loose with the money. It was a sense of entitlement and thought they would get away with it because nobody cared.

Where was ministerial services in this? Where was the Prime Minister? If there had been competent leadership and oversight, these ‘mistakes’ wouldn’t have happened or would have been spotted. I mean, the government was so lax that even after the Dompost requested the credit card accounts no-one in the government decided to go through them. Had they, the apologises would have come before the Dom broke the story.

The Dompost didn’t just decide out of the blue to spend all those resources rifling through and cross-checking ministers’ credit card expenses. Someone tipped them off that there were bad practices afoot, which suggests that others were turning a blind eye to the issue.

It’s not the amount of money, the petty corruption. It’s the trust.

It’s so disappointing that we can’t trust this government for a minute. Lying about GDP growth, making up excuses when caught saying they would “love to see wages drop”, promising not to raise GST then doing it anyway, not bothering to understand their own policies, rorting housing allowances, charging for ministerial speeches, abusing their ministerial credit cards, passing policies with hidden pay-offs for their financial backers, violating beneficiaries’ privacy, or hiding their conflicts of interest with the shares they own and the decisions they make – we’re learning that we can’t trust this National government an inch, we always have to check what they’re really up to.

Heatley knew what he was doing. He can’t be trusted, so he shouldn’t be a minister. He ought to be sacked but Key never upholds those high standards he promised.

40 comments on “Nats’ sense of entitlement behind credit card abuse”

  1. tc 1

    I heard the snivelling Heatley and oh the arrogance and righteousness behind such comments as ‘doing a great job’ and the people of whangarei are behind me etc etc and did anyone ask for details on the great job he’s doing ?

    More of JK’s A team caught red-handed and has anyone interviewed the Brownlee yet? No let me guess he’ll adopt the I’m not talking position like he does in parliament when asked a difficult question.

    A 100% relentless focus on lining ours and our mates pockets……choose a brighter future eh.

  2. logie97 3

    Knew it wouldn’t take long for the MSM (Dom Post) to re-litigate past questions. Shock horror Labour were apparently worse – “However, the Labour figure included ministers outside the Cabinet, which National’s figures do not.”

    • The Voice of Reason 3.1

      Although the DomPost follow up article is pretty vague about what Labour ministers might have done wrong. I don’t think ‘a former Beehive staff member’ is a particularly authorative source. Why can’t they be named if they don’t work there any more? And there is no specific allegation at all, where in the case of the Nats. it’s all very plain to see.

      Can’t wait to hear what Rodney “Perktaker” Hide has to say about it all.

    • Akldnut 3.2

      Labour ministers racked up $74,000 in credit card spending, compared with about $22,000 by National ministers

      Labour 9 years @ $8,200 per annum – National 15 months @ $17.599 per annum

      • Marty G 3.2.1

        Let’s be clear. There is no problem with using the ministerial credit card for legitimate expenses. Let’s not get into a pissing contest over who spent the least because it’s not the spending per se that’s the problem and there are other ways ministers can claim expenses.

        The problem here is that Heatley broke the rules and has basically been allowed to get away with it.

        • Herodotus 3.2.1.1

          I am sure that many previous Min have mistakenly committed the same offense. So what will ahppen, we will find that it is the case there have been other previous examples. Sure there are those who should keep an eye out. BUT don’t overplay this as there are far more urgent issues thast we need to deal with, crime, poverty what ever direction NZ is going.
          It maybe more fun to kick issues like this or $31 of shares and there are times some light relief is required but if those managing this site are not manging the contributors, this site could become irrelevant and a joke as the side issues take over from what is important and solid debate. If magor organisations can lose focus why not here?

          • Marty G 3.2.1.1.1

            No-one ‘manages’ us, apart from ourselves on a collective, informal basis.

            I can’t write about crime, poverty, unemployment every day without the topics going stale but you know I cover these issues a lot.

            • Herodotus 3.2.1.1.1.1

              I accept that issues like this are semi topical, you I hope can appreciate how this could disintergrate into a they did/we did All is Ok type of slinging match. All that will do is turn passive viewers off and when there is something it will be brushed asside as if it was the boy who cried wolf.
              The Bill housing issue was ione I think was over played and lost anything (If there was anything sinister just to him), unless there was a follow up, which to my knowledge there was not, All that happened was the impression of Trevor just playing politics and the sterotype personna portrayed to politicians was just reinforced.
              The issues you have raised are the important ones, but for me no party has any solutions. To be synicial I think Lab (And Nats before) just store these issues up when in opposition to undermine the current govt. Then nothing just a void of solutions. BUT hey it got “US” back into power strategy. Perhaps this great year I was having is slowly being infiltrated by cynicism from all both left & right !!

  3. So Heatley is an expert in Dairy Farm effluent management.

    Makes him perfect for the role of managing the flow of information from Cabinet.

  4. Sam 5

    How can anyone take these people seriously? We all have to tighten our belts, there’s more than 160,000 people out of work, yet they’re chucking the crayfish on the tax payer tonight boys! Yee-haw! Let’s get on it!

  5. Where was the Prime Minister? If there had been competent leadership and oversight, these ‘mistakes’ wouldn’t have happened or would have been spotted.

    I’d keep away from that line of attack Marty. Labour’s Ministerial credit cards are getting released later this week.

    • Marty G 6.1

      No, Danyl. If there’s corruption there I’ll be criticising it too. Stick to the funnies, eh?

      • Smokie 6.1.1

        Please Marty. Don’t encourage him… After reading the Dim Post, I hope he stays well away from the funnies.

  6. big bruv 7

    It never ceases to amaze me that those on opposite sides of the political battle ground can be so hypocritical.

    Had these been Labour ministers caught stealing money from the tax payer the Standard would not have said a word, indeed, there would have been a spirited defence offered, or, at the very least this level of troughing would have been laughed off by the more rabid contributors here.

    Heatley should be sacked, those on the right should be into him like they would have been into any Labour MP.

    I would like to think that in years to come the Standard will be just as hard (and demand resignations) from any Labour MP who steals from the tax payer, however, I suspect we will see the ugly hypocritical side of politics coming through again.

    • Daveski 7.1

      Agreed BB.

      There’s almost a parallel universe in operation here and at KB where whatever your team does is justifiable and whatever the other team does is wrong regardless of the context.

    • HitchensFan 7.2

      Big Bruv.

      I’m waiting for Farrar’s condemnation? Waiting……tapping fingers…….waiting…..

      [lprent: DPF did do a post at about 5:43am (from memory) yesterday, and then dumped a pile of other posts on top of it.

      Of course it is a marked contrast to the 20 or posts he would have done if it’d been ministers in the previous government. ]

  7. Santi 8

    We all know very well the lazy John Key will sack anyone. It is too much work for this ineffcient PM.

    • big bruv 8.1

      What a stupid and uneducated comment.

      Nobody dislikes Helen Clark more than me (actually the correct word might be “hates”) but even I would not say she was inefficient or lazy.

      Key might not be your cup of tea (nor is he mine) but only a complete fool would say he was lazy or inefficient.

      • Santi 8.1.1

        Read again what I wrote. I didn’t say Key has been lazy all his life, but as PM he is VERY lazy. His ministers run wild, get away with murder, show absolute incompetence and all Key does is to give us silly excuses.

        Laziness and inefficiency as a politician are becoming Key’ trademark.

        • big bruv 8.1.1.1

          Santi

          Does the quote “he is only guilty of trying to help people” ring any bells with you?

          You are on dangerous ground when you accuse Key of letting his ministers run wild, the previous PM had at least two ministers who she NEVER pulled up for their excesses and one who was proven to be corrupt.

          Key should let his ministers have their own space, Clark’s micro management style is what got this country into a mess in the first place, where Key is failing to do his job is to hold people like Heatley to account.

          • r0b 8.1.1.1.1

            Does the quote “he is only guilty of trying to help people’ ring any bells with you?

            It certainly shouldn’t. No one ever said it. That’s a misquote spread by Farrar and other nutjob bloggers.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2

          Well, I suppose he does have an excuse. If he started firing them he would have to maintain those standards and fire the lot of them which would kinda leave him without a government.

  8. the sprout 9

    So how many from this Government does that make caught stealing from the taxpayer?

    English
    Lee
    Singh
    Hide
    Douglas
    Brownlee
    Heatley

    Have I forgotten anyone?
    What a corrupt and hypocrtical Government this is.

    • big bruv 9.1

      Hmmm…

      I cannot remember the same faux outrage from sprout when Clark and Labour stole money from the tax payer.

  9. Cnr Joe 10

    SuperpopularJohn Key is quite relaxed about stealing, lying, misleading.
    What sort of country are we going to become under this regime?

  10. tc 11

    here here sprout and to that you can add the MP’s who defied the PM’s edict on no spouses to travel at the taxpayers expense……Crusher, Douglas …again, etc

    Agree about both sides of the polly fence needing equal scrutiny and lets all remember that JK campaigned on less red tape greater accountabilty and more transparency……Cue a few Tui billboards.

    It’s obvious JK rules with all the authority of a marshmellow.

    By the way David Beatson nailed blinglish on Stratos last night…….so easy it was embarrassing and in the interest of balance Goff talks too much when short sharp responses are required.

    • Daveski 11.1

      Agreed. Key talked big but needs to act on this. National’s front line appears to be pretty weak to be fair (although Labour’s line up is still largely last centuries).

      The interesting aspect is that the longer term battles will be the emerging talent and who’s got the best new blood. Surely, both sides can do better than what they’ve got on show now.

    • pollywog 11.2

      “Goff talks too much when short sharp responses are required.”

      and thats what I’m saying. He needs a media lesson in ebonics and hiphop 101.

      a few choice catchphrases here, a punchline there, some withering comebacks, a photo op with the homies and maybe the youth will warm to him enough that they trust he is speaking for them cos at the mo, no one is.

  11. randal 12

    henceforth he shall be known to all as hamburger heatley.

  12. rod 13

    What about Phil your boots Heatley

  13. Anne 14

    hamburger Heatley it is. 🙂

  14. Anne 15

    hamburger Heatley it was. 🙁

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