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More snouts in the trough

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, August 4th, 2009 - 78 comments
Categories: corruption, national - Tags: , , ,

nat minister rortMore Nats have been exposed rorting the out of town allowance for ministers. Bludger Bill is claiming the allowance for living in his own house. The others are claiming because they felt like fancier digs.

McCully, Groser, Heatley, and David Carter all own homes in Wellington but have moved out of them into more expensive houses. Don’t have to dip into their quarter of a million dollar salaries to pay for the move. Nope, the taxpayer finances that choice entirely, in addition to their generous paypackets.

These ministers are now renting out the homes they own. So, the taxpayer is paying for their accommodation and because they are enjoying that largesse they are also able to pocket hundreds of dollars in rent each week. More than that, no-one can quite work out how they are managing to spend the $50,000 a year that they are claiming for their housing allowances including hundreds of dollars a week in running costs. Seems they’re padding the claims.

It’s like some kind of two-bit property scam where you and I are the mugs.

78 comments on “More snouts in the trough ”

  1. vto 1

    How about we see the details for the last labour govt too?

    Before that is done there is no absolutely no way you can clamber up on your rickety old ass-about high horse.

    End.

  2. Deciduous 2

    Bring back the EPMU/PPTA cartoonist you guys used to use.

  3. toad 3

    vto, I suspect there were similar arrangements when Labour was in Government, but we’ll never know because there was no requirement to disclose expenses then – that has occurred only now and only through the Greens’ initiative.

    But just because it may have happened in the past with a different Government doesn’t make it right.

    As I suggested here, the Ministers concerned could voluntarily pay the rents they receive on their own Wellington properties back to Ministerial Services.

    It’s not too late for Sir Roger (It’s an entitlement) Douglas to pay back the cost of his overseas holiday either.

    What chance?

    • vto 3.1

      Of course it doesn’t make it right mr toad, but the noisy clamour and pointing fingers of zet and eddie and marty etc are hypocritical until labours own trough snuffling is disclosed.

      Tell you one thing I dont understand – English has been an MP for a long time. He knew when he entered the game that he would be in Wgtn for years and years and years. With this in mind he should make arrangements to move house. Or have two abodes. After all, it is what every other worker in the country has to do if they accept work in another part of the country for many many years.

  4. Tim Ellis 4

    I agree Zetetic that I am uncomfortable with this situation. It appears to have been an ongoing issue for some time, going back to the last government where ministers owned property in wellington but lived in ministerial houses while they rented out their properties. Have a look at the registry of pecuniary interests.

    The difference now is that National has made the information about its own ministers public. Despite your outrage at this “rort” you don’t seem to have the integrity to call for the same exposure from Labour. It certainly explains why despite this being the biggest political issue of the day, Labour haven’t said zip on the issue. Do they have something to hide?

    If you were being consistent you would extend your moral outrage to Labour Ministers as well as National’s ministers.

    If there a clear precedents for this and an expectation from Ministers that this is normal, then we need to ask why.

  5. I understand that the information about Labour ministerial expenses is avaliable. Ministerial Services is bound by the Official Information Act whereas Parliamentary Services is not.

    I suspect the reality is that the lefties who are less sophisticated in money matters and who tend to be poorer did not engage in the same sort of behaviour, at least not in the same scale as the tories do.

    I will now stand back and let a surge of examples and “you did it to” comments erupt to try and blunt what is an exceedingly clear fact, the tories have been rorting the public purse.

    One further comment, the rules concerning trusts and the parliamentary register of pecuniary interests needs to be tightened up. Right now an MP needs to disclose a trust if they have a beneficial interest in it. This should be changed so that if any immediate member of their family has a beneficial interest then it needs to be disclosed. This is the only way that I can see English being able to claim that he did not have an interest in the trust that owns his family home. The timing also needs to be investigated however. The transfer showing change of trustees was registered on March 19, 2009 but the register was as at January 2009. Maybe there was a delay in registering the change of trustees, maybe he is still a trustee and not a beneficiary but it does seem rather odd.

    • Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 5.1

      MS said-

      ‘I suspect the reality is that the lefties who are less sophisticated in money matters and who tend to be poorer did not engage in the same sort of behaviour, at least not in the same scale as the tories do.’

      So we now have it, the lefties are less sophisticated with money. And we want these people running the country?

      Own goal there matey.

  6. Deciduous 6

    As Tim Alludes, the UK Labour party found themselves MORE wanting than the Tories when it came to expanse rorting.

    It’s kinda like a political nuclear brinksmanship game. Who will win?

  7. coolas 7

    Isn’t claiming maximum personal advantage and benefit out of life a ‘key’ National message of what they stand for. Why is it so surprising that the Princes of Capitalism enrich themselves as much as possible. It’s what they stand for.

    • BLiP 7.1

      I think you’re right. It certainly confirms the “cognitive dissonance” of conservatives. On the one hand they exploit what resources they have available and on the other they rail against bludgers. And then they sleep at night.

  8. Deciduous 8

    “Isn’t claiming maximum personal advantage and benefit out of life a” – human condition.

  9. Deciduous 9

    Oh thats complete bollox red, the human condition is untreatable. You can mitigate its worst effects but man is a beast who looks to improve by any means at hand. It is called evolution.

    • DeeDub 9.1

      So… let’s fricking mitigate, already!

      Or should we just let this s**t stand because it’s ‘human nature’?

    • Pascal's bookie 9.2

      “It is called evolution.”

      wtf?

      • DeeDub 9.2.1

        Yeah, I think he might have also lost some marbles when the leaves dropped off this winter?

    • coolas 9.3

      It’s the mitigation the counts. That’s the point. If this Government is sincere about cutting costs Ministers especially should not be maximising their benefits. They too should be prudent. But no they allow personal greed to triumph over sincerity. It is deeply cynical.

  10. Deciduous 10

    Man is a beast – just look at the actions of the Labour party with respect sleeping with NZ first.

    • burt 10.1

      Or taking money from Owen Glenn and not declaring it until pushed. Umm it was an interest free loan… oh a donation…

      It is a human condition and rules are required to control it. Funny though the rules were just fine when Labour were taking advantage of them.

      But hey – Key has called for a full review – something dear leader never wanted to do.

    • DeeDub 10.2

      Ok I’ll bite. At the risk of wingnut misdirection of the highest order BUT, for the sake of clarity, WTF are you talking about?

      • coolas 10.2.1

        Funny. Labour did indeed ‘sleep’ with NZ First in a coalition but only after National had kicked them out of bed. Beastly behaviour all round. Firstly for Jim Bolger letting Winstone slip between the sheets and secondly for Helen mixing it with such a promiscuous fellow. Beastly!

        • Pat 10.2.1.1

          So by the time 2008 rolled around Winnie was well and truly rooted!

          • Armchair Critic 10.2.1.1.1

            There is a good precedent here. NZ First were the minor coalition partner in 1996 and were decimated in 1999. Then in 1999 the Alliance were the minor coalition partner and in 2002 they were wiped out. 2002 to 2005 with United Future, 2005 to 2008 NZ First again. With ACT as the junior partner in 2008 I am hoping the trend continues. Sir Dodger ha certainly helped the cause this week.

    • BLiP 10.3

      You may well be a beast which is perhaps why you can’t understand why Labour’s partnership with NZ First actually indicates an evolution where apparent enemies can, for the greater good, put aside those differences which prevent certain agreements so that they may focus on the agreements that they can have. Specifically, keep National Inc out of government. A good job too.

      The same can’t be said of National Inc who have, rather than sought a partnership, canibalised the Greens and neutered the Maori Party. The recent National Inc orgy in Christchurch could have seen the party evolve and demonstrate its commitment to enhancing Maori mana had they elected the best man for Party President. But, no. Instead they chose a good “fellow”, one “us and not some darky”. With tyical Crosby/Textor finesse the obvious racism was deflected with the talking-point that there could be a perceived conflict of interest given that Wiri’s “missus” was an MP. The opposite, however, is true; what better person to have as President than someone so intimately linked with the National Inc caucus AND able to reach over to the Maori Party?

      Its all good news as far am I’m concerned. Keep it up but don’t think you’re not being observed.

      • Pat 10.3.1

        Um – you don’t have to be Maori to be able to “reach over to the Maori Party”. Tokenism is best left for Labour.

      • Tim Ellis 10.3.2

        While you’re on your high horse about being respectful towards Maori BLiP, you might want to get the man’s name right. It’s “Wira”, not “Wiri”.

        • BLiP 10.3.2.1

          Good to know you’ve got that handy Crosby/Textor memory jogger right there by the keyboard next to your glass pipe. What’s their motto – something like “I don’t care what you say about me but spell my name right”?

  11. aj 11

    I notice Key’s passion when defending his ministers by using the ‘breaking up families’ theme….I’ve never seen that concern show about damage done ordinary kiwi families by job loss and dislocation before…

    • Bill 11.1

      I was heartened by the fact that Key acknowledged the impact that income, or lack of, can have on relationships.

      Waiting for the follow through….closing that wage gap with Oz by raising min wage and overhauling the ERA, raising those benefit levels….

  12. toad 12

    The Hon. Murray McCully, Hansard, 14 February 2001.

    Delightfully ironic that he’s one of the Ministers now in the firing line!

    • Now Toad – on which blog did you have come across that link 🙂

      Curious there is no obvious question about this in the house today. The media are all over it – they need to do a question tomorrow – if Labour and the Greens are not careful it may create an impression they have something to hide – rather than keeping the focus on National ministerial snoughts in the trough

      • toad 12.1.1

        Perhaps this question Joe:

        Hon TREVOR MALLARD to the Minister of Finance: What progress has he made on line-by-line reviews and what are his priorities for the next twelve months?

  13. Maggie 13

    Attempts by our Tory contributors to change the subject or pass the buck to a previous government are inventive, but don’t wash. The situation, particularly as regards Bill English, is so shonky even Tim Ellis has to admit some discomfort.

    Key starts by defending the indefensible, but as the public anger grows, comes up with: “Okay, then, we’ll review it” as a means of damage control.

    Quite simply we have a senior Cabinet Minister claiming an accommodation allowance designed for “out of Wellington” MPs, while he is living permanently in Wellington. That may not be illegal, but it is certainly dishonest.

    • grumpy 13.1

      Of course it’s shonky. National didn’t bring in these entitlements and have now had the guts to make them public.

      Compare Nationals 6 months of rorting the system to Labour’s 9 years!!!!

      Lets see the comparative trough guzzling for BOTH parties (maybe even the Greens – remember Bunkle?).

    • Daveski 13.2

      indeed, the righties seem to be the one’s who have the decency to admit its a rort.

      The Greens and Labour have been resolutely quiet on this one … I wonder why.

      • The Voice of Reason 13.2.1

        Except they are not admitting it’s a rort, Daveski. The usual suspects stuck pretty rigidly to the line that it was OK, right up till Mr Floppy announced that there’d be a review. Then we got some qualified comments about the need for a look at the whole system. I’m guessing the change in tack came about 30 seconds after the C/T email arrived.

        And as for the other parties staying schtumm on this one, the answer’s obvious. Don’t fix what ain’t broke. No need to comment when the media are shredding the Nats without having to be prodded into it. It’s refreshing to see a semblance of insight from these previously lacklustre lickspittles who have given the Nats such a soft ride till now.

  14. John Dalley 14

    What a crocked bunch of bastards. It matters not a jot that “the rules allow it” it unnecessary, unethical and seriously not a good look.
    I see finally the point has been discovered by the press that at least some of the crocked pricks have been effectively Double-Dipping and at the very least they should have been off setting their allowance by paying the rentals earned from their flats back to the Government/Public Purse.
    No less than there resignation should be be expected by the NZ Public.

    • Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 14.1

      Why do you resign if you do nothing wrong, is any of this illegal?
      Morally wrong maybe, but everyone will have to resign if it comes down to morals.

      You lefty idiots seem to forget that 56% of the country love national. deluded dickhead.

  15. Maggie 15

    Ah, yes, Daveski, the Tories are wonderfully honest. They pick your pocket right in front of your face, then defend their right to do it.

    Grumpy needs to stop rewriting history. Firstly Phillida Bunkle was from the Alliance, not the Greens. Secondly she was stood down as soon as accusations were made against her. Thirdly, she was never reinstated, even though she was cleared of breaking the rules.

    • Daveski 15.1

      Not suggesting that the Nats are more or less honest that Labour.

      Simply pointing out that this is clearly something that the Greens and Labour do not want the public to look closely at THEIR use of the trough.

      I’m not defending them either. No one else gets such generous expenses.

    • grumpy 15.2

      Sorry Maggie but it’s been so long…. and it’s hard to tell who was Alliance and who is now Greens…. and weren’t the Greens part of the Alliance???

      Anyway, if English got the boot quite a lot of National voters would be ecstatic.

      A trough guzzler is a trough guzzler – regardless of what party they are from, it would pay the Left to acknowledge that.

  16. hang on,

    Haya Standardista’s

    Perhaps I’m very blond here but I noticed no information was given on how much John Key claims from the tax payer. Is that information available?

    • Tim Ellis 16.1

      Perhaps that’s because Mr Key lives in Premier House, just as Helen Clark did. I’m sure some of the commenters here can get very flustered about that arrangement and feign outrage about something that has been going on for a hundred years and say that he’s wasting taxpayers’ money and he should pay for his own house in Wellington though.

      • BLiP 16.1.1

        Premier House used to be the Dental Clinic when I was a nipper – glad to see The Goober is keeping up the tradition of making it an epi-centre of needless pain to the youth of the nation.

        It used to be that the Prime Minister stayed in Vogel House out in the Hutt Valley. At least under Aunty Helen the taxi chits for visiting MPs were chopped up.

      • Bright Red 16.1.2

        reading what’s not there again, eh Tim? can’t attack the authors on what they have said, so attack them on what you wish they had said.

      • Kevin Welsh 16.1.3

        That’s Ms Clark, to you Tim.

      • travellerev 16.1.4

        Tim,

        Thank you so much for explaining that to me.
        I, as perhaps you know, am from Dutch descent and only moved here some five years ago with my Kiwi husband of twenty two years.
        My knowledge of the intimate details of New Zealand’s ministerial arrangements is sketchy but I’m trying to learn. Added to that I try to learn with English as my second language.

        So the next time I ask an honest question about New Zealand politics perhaps you could dispense with the sarcasm when you answer.

        I promise I will do the same if you ask me something about Dutch politics written in Dutch.

        OK?

        • Tim Ellis 16.1.4.1

          Yes that’s fair enough, travellerev. My sarcasm was rude and unnecessary, and I apologise.

          • travellerev 16.1.4.1.1

            Is that apologise thingy part of the kit set instructions on how to avoid being branded a troll?

            • Tim Ellis 16.1.4.1.1.1

              No, travellerev, it was an apology for using sarcasm in a way that offended you. You don’t have to accept the apology if you don’t like, but that says more about you than it does me.

            • travellerev 16.1.4.1.1.2

              Fuckin hell Tim,

              You’re slick I’ll give you that, LOL, however almost but no cigar.
              You take the game of “I’m polite and reasonable but you are not and Oh, look at her being rude” to a whole new level.
              Too bad most people here ain’t buyin.

            • Tim Ellis 16.1.4.1.1.3

              In that case I withdraw my apology, travellerev. Your continued stupidity deserved all the sarcasm I gave.

            • travellerev 16.1.4.1.1.4

              Yep, slick manipulation. If you can’t play the rude card go for the stupid card. Something is bound to stick.LOL.

          • Deciduous 16.1.4.1.2

            Um, Ev, you are now the troll on this thread.

            • travellerev 16.1.4.1.2.1

              Actually D,

              It is not his thread. It’s Zetetic’s tread.
              Tim Ellis doesn’t and neither do I, own anything on this blog.

              Confronting someone about his behaviour and communications is not the same as trolling D, but willy nilly rude remarks such as labour sleeping with NZ first with no apparent motivation other then getting up the Standardista’s nose would be considered sailing close to the edge where I come from.

  17. kaplan 17

    According to the Herald the ever enterprising Wayne Mapp is managing to not only collect his own allowance but his fellow national MP Bakshi Singh’s allowance as well by renting the apartment that he already owns in Wellington to Singh while he rents another at our expense.

    Priceless.

    • toad 17.1

      kaplan, your link doesn’t seem to work – it’s this one:

      Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said his previous apartment had been very small and was not suitable for him and his wife, now he was spending more time in Wellington as a minister.

      He confirmed the apartment was owned by his superannuation trust and was rented to National MP Bakshi Singh, for $400 a week.

      As an MP Mr Singh can claim up to $24,000 year in accommodation costs from Parliamentary Service.

    • Bright Red 17.2

      and Singh’s not even there. He’s been off sick at home in Auckland for a couple of months.

  18. Murray 18

    Phil Goff did his best to suggest that the rules under National have changed, and that Labour minister cost the taxpayer a lot less than the current lot, which is, of course not true.

    The annual leases of Labour ministers’ taxpayer funded ministerial homes last year has just been released and are totally comparable to the present ones.

    Goff admitted that he and other Labour Ministers had been in the same category as Housing Minister Phil Heatley who has accepted a house at taxpayer expense and then rented out his old flat – the only difference being that Heatley has rented his out to an MP and Goff hasn’t.

    • grumpy 18.1

      Jeepers Murray! Does that mean that if John Key changes the rule for National Ministers, that the previous Labour Ministers will have to pay their’s back?

      Wouldn’t be a good look for true socialists to be rorting more than the tories – would it?

  19. Murray 19

    The point is that this is something that appears to cross party lines and while it is apparent that what has happened is not unlawful, it is time for a change and a review of these so called expenses and entitlements.

    As a self employed contractor who only gets paid when we work. It would be good if these same sort of entitlements were available across the board for similar circumstances.
    However if we tried this IRD would be down on us like a ton of bricks.

    I guess MP,s are one step above us mortals.

    Still I think a change is comming and it will happen

  20. vto 20

    Hey zet.. see tv one news????

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    you guys are fools. In fact you’re worse than that because you make out you have brains and so should know better.

    Labours been at the trough.

    suckling at the trough.

    making pigs of themselves at the trough.

    God knows why you lot tried to claim that its only nats that rort the system.

    Credibility out the window yet again. The core reason for the lack of quality of debate so often.

    • Pascal's bookie 20.1

      “God knows why you lot tried to claim that its only nats that rort the system.”

      Define ‘you lot’ please vto. With quotes. That sort of generalisation is IMHO the core reason for the lack of quality of debate so often.

      • vto 20.1.1

        Ps B, most every author on here the last few days. Scroll back down the main page and you will find zet, eddie, ayb, sprout, and then all the attendant dittoheads in each thread, stating clearly that “nats rort the system”.

        • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1.1

          So are you saying that “nats rort the system’, means “that its only nats that rort the system”?

          I’m only asking because you asked me to read you very carefully, so I’m doing so. To help me do so in the future, it’d be great that if instead of saying things like ‘you lot’, you might address specific complaints against specific people. That would save me calling you a liar and stuff.

          Thnks. 😉

          Also, looking back, I see that most of the complaints have been about English, rather than the nats in general. I think that the English situation is a little different, what with the trust, and the ‘not being a wellingtonian’ thing.

          • vto 20.1.1.1.1

            Ps B, yes.

            This whole matter is somewhat overblown imo. There are some ludicrous arguments being thrown around, when the final result aimed for is simply recompense for accommodation in Wgtn for those who live outside of it.

            However if there are suspicions of actual ‘rort’ eg Bill English’s case then they should be checked out.

            I noticed it was only a page 5 item in our paper this morning. It will end up mostly a beltway issue and get deflected by the next big news item and then Key will get all the credit when new rules are announced.

            • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1.1.1.1

              “are you saying that “nats rort the system’, means “that its only nats that rort the system’?”

              “Yes”

              Eh? I must be a bit thick this morning, but I’m not following…

            • vto 20.1.1.1.1.2

              Now I’m getting confused too…

  21. vto 21

    and before anyone cries “oh the old they did it too so it makes it ok argument”, if you note carefully most of the ‘righties’ on here have called the rort for what it is, nat goon or labour goon or act goon.

    smelly house on here tonight – poooeeeeeee !

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