web analytics

Nick pulls a Bill

Written By: - Date published: 3:39 pm, October 12th, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: Media, national/act government - Tags: , , ,

Nick Smith has taken a leaf out of the Double Dipton school of politics, calling journalists and swearing at them when the coverage isn’t to his liking.

Now, to be fair to Smith, he’s got a point about the story the Dom published on Saturday. The story said Smith and six other MPs (all but one National) were leasing property they owned to the Parliamentary Service for their electoral offices and that somehow this was wrong. All the article could really try to claim was that the MPs were pocketing “substantial capital gains” (hmm, does that mean it’s an anti-rort when property prices fall?).

There doesn’t appear to be any rort here – it’s the same situation as the houses the Greens superannuation fund owned.

The MPs have a right to claim for the expense of these properties – there’s allowances for electoral offices and for out of town MPs’ costs of staying in Wellington – they’re legitimate work expenses. Unlike Bill English, these MPs are not exploiting a loophole to take money they are not entitled to. It doesn’t matter who owns the properties, as long as only market rents are being charged (which is where the Greens made a mistake, which they themselves discovered and corrected). Whereas Bill English wasn’t entitled to a cent of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he has taken over the years, these MPs and the Greens were entitled to claim market rents.

That aside, it’s not OK for ministers to try to bully the media whenever a story doesn’t go their way. When Nick Smith found himself losing his cool over this story, he should have taken some time get his temper under control then rung and explained how the system works and asked for a correction.

But no. There seems to be this sense in this government that they are in charge and everyone else better bloody well toe the line. It’s a bullying mentality that is reflected not only in English and Smith’s behavour towards the media but also Paula Bennett’s public bullying of beneficiaries using privileged information and David Garrett’s threats to prison guards opposing privatisation.

It’s commendable that Tracy Watkins chose to publish Smith’s vitriol, rather than be cowed into shameful silence as TVNZ and TV3 were when English rang to abuse them.

19 comments on “Nick pulls a Bill ”

  1. Outofbed 1

    Smith’s abilty to get really angry very easily is legendary.
    He is not a very nice person

  2. gitmo 2

    More politicians troughing on the taxpayer as usual gorging at the public teat knows no political boundaries.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    It’s a bullying mentality that is part and parcel of the political right. They’re all a bunch of authoritarians.

  4. HitchensFan 4

    He goes so bright red and spluttery – he must have terrible blood pressure problems.
    Nasty little person, he is.

  5. Herodotus 5

    DID the greens discover, correct and disclose their mistakes, from what has been reported you are being very generous with the english language.
    Can I remind you of the treatment of Erin Leigh.
    Perhaps it is the Wellington wind that does funny things to people, a bit like the Nth West wind in Chch

  6. Red Rosa 6

    Nick Smith’s credibility on both the ETS and ACC issues has taken a serious hit.

    The $ numbers are big for both, and the detail complex. Smith’s summaries for the general public are flawed if not misleading; to be charitable.

    It must be questioned whether he has any real grip on either of these portfolios. After all, this is the politician’s job – to grasp and explain the essentials of policy. Smith simply doesn’t seem to fully understand what he is doing.

    Maybe this explains his touchiness on the electorate offices question.

  7. You really shouldn’t have to swear while carrying out your job. That’s not professional behaviour and the Right Dishonourable Smith needs to be called on it.

    • Herodotus 7.1

      Agreed you should not have to, yet if you go to senior mgmtmt or board meetings. I have noticed over the years that the language has deterioated quite dramatically. Yet we allow that you can tell a cop where to go and there is little that can be done, or evan watch primetime TV. Perhaps we are just too old fashioned and language has evolved at a rate that has made you and I old relics of the past?

  8. toad 8

    Eddie, Nick Smith may not be as innocent as he claims.

    He says he spent $152,000 to make the property he bought usable as an electorate office. But was it his personal money, or another Parliamentary Service allowance, or a bit of both that paid that sum? And if a bit of both, how much of each?

    More argument here from me on that issue, and how it could have possibly not cost Nick Smith a cent personally to refurbish the building he purchased to be his electorate office.

    Could be another rort imo, And also may not be. But the onus is on Smith to put the facts of who paid for what in the public domain.

    And another reason for greater transparency overall re Parliamentary allowances.

    • Herodotus 8.1

      I would imagine that if we examimned all of these issues there maybe embarrassment by all (That is if politicians get embarrassed!!). I am sure most comply with the rules but would fail the test from the public e.g Entertainment allowance $12k. And some disclosure on pension schemes as I believe that there are more than the Greens who have personnel pension schemes that own property used by MP’s like what if any contributions are made by the individuals or are they funded by Parliamentary services rentals?

    • outofbed 8.2

      I thought he was on the bones of his arse till recently what with all the suing an all

  9. vto 9

    Eddie “It doesn’t matter who owns the properties, as long as only market rents are being charged ”

    You green/left fullas are so capitalist when it comes to your own pockets that you dont even recognise yourselves..

    it is all rather amusing and consistent over the years.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      You green/left fullas are so capitalist when it comes to your own pockets

      Prefer that we just go for a full metal jacket socialist solution and fund ourselves directly out of taxpayer funds? You’d damn us if we did, and damn us when we don’t.

      Amusing how you think that just because we believe in the power of collective action… that we are committed to poverty at the same time.

  10. felix 10

    In all fairness to that little worm Nick Smith if that was the extent of the “swearing” it’s pretty low level and uninventive.

    He said he works “bloody hard” and he’s not a “greedy bastard”. This is not the same as calling someone a “fucking cunt” like Bill English apparently did. It’s not in the same ballpark. It’s not even the same sport.

    Really Eddie, is that it? Did he even call anyone any names at all?

    Pick your battles, people. There’s plenty to criticise Smith about but this isn’t it.

  11. Marty G 11

    sorry, who’s the ‘bureaucrat’ in this situation? The MP? I’m not sure you know what the word means.

    You also don’t seem to understand that MPs are allowed to claim the cost of their electorate office, where their publicly-funded electorate staffer works. If you prevented the parties or the MPs being the owners of those offices, well they’re not going to provide them for free are they? Instead, Parliamentary service would just have to rent some other office for the electorate office and pay someone else the rent.

    As long as the parties or MPs are only getting market rent, there’s nothing wrong.

  12. RedLogix 12

    @Strathen,

    It’s my understanding that this kind of arrangement has been considered perfectly acceptable for decades. MP’s have had electorate offices for yonks, and Parliamentary Services have always paid the rent.

    The office is there for a number of reasons, primarily so that the MP and his/her staff can serve the public in that electorate. This is standard practice. Moreover the tenant (in this case the MP) has the right (as do all tenants) to choose what they regard as an appropriate location, standard of premises and terms of occupancy (such as signage rights).

    Now someone has to own that office and PS will pay the rent for it regardless of who owns it. As long as that rent is the market rate, the taxpayer has no further concern where the money goes.

    If the MP, or Party in question, chooses to own the same premises, and benefit from the long-term ownership thereof… they are not doing anything different to what tens of thousands of other property owners do in perfect legality and legitimacy every day of the week.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Twenty highlights of 2020
    As we welcome in the new year, our focus is on continuing to keep New Zealanders safe and moving forward with our economic recovery. There’s a lot to get on with, but before we say a final goodbye to 2020, here’s a quick look back at some of the milestones ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates New Year Honour recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her warm congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the New Year 2021 Honours List. “The past year has been one that few of us could have imagined. In spite of all the things that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • David Parker congratulates New Year 2021 Honours recipients
    Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment David Parker has congratulated two retired judges who have had their contributions to the country and their communities recognised in the New Year 2021 Honours list. The Hon Tony Randerson QC has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Year’s Honours highlights outstanding Pacific leadership through challenging year
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the New Year’s Honours List 2021 highlights again the outstanding contribution made by Pacific people across Aotearoa. “We are acknowledging the work of 13 Pacific leaders in the New Year’s Honours, representing a number of sectors including health, education, community, sports, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting seniors to embrace technology
    The Government’s investment in digital literacy training for seniors has led to more than 250 people participating so far, helping them stay connected. “COVID-19 has meant older New Zealanders are showing more interest in learning how to use technology like Zoom and Skype so they can to keep in touch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago