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.