Paying MPs’ court costs

Written By: - Date published: 11:23 am, April 7th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: law and "order", parliamentary spending - Tags: , , , ,

I don’t have a problem with MPs being able to get public funding for court cases arising from their professional activities.

You wouldn’t expect private sector employees who are taken to court over their actions in their job to be forced to pay their own way. And MPs would obviously face the additional risk of a campaign of law suits be opponents with deep pockets designed to financially ruin them if they had to meet the costs themselves.

So, I’m not too worried about Nick Smith being able to claim assistance for the costs of a defamation suit arising from comments he made as an Opposition MP.

But what an arrogant bugger Gerry Brownlee is. In 1999, he assaulted an activist at a National Party conference (if memory serves, this isn’t the only assault he’s been involved in) and was forced to pay $13,000. He claimed that money. As he says “I would have thought ‘oh well, I’ve got this big bill, I may as well see what is possible'”.

What a sense of entitlement. So in keeping with the attitude displayed by other Tories like Bill English, Paula Bennett, and Phil Heatley. Luckily Brownlee’s greedy claim was denied.

22 comments on “Paying MPs’ court costs”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    It isn’t up to Gerry Brownlee as to whether his claim got paid or not. That’s why he made the claim in the first place so the people whose job it is to make these decisions, make the decisions.

    I don’t necessarily see it as being a sense of entitlement: he didn’t charge the money to the government and fail to pay it back (as Heatley did), but instead he queried whether they could pay the bill, or not.

    Essentially what you’re saying here is that all MPs should know the rules inside and out, and only ever make claims for things they know will be approved, and not make claims for things they know won’t be approved, and they should be 100% clear on how the rules apply to each and every case they are involved in. Sorry, but I’d rather have our MPs doing their actual work (such as it is), and leave these sorts of decisions to someone whose role it is to make such decisions.

    Moderator: please delete previous comment that is identical to this one, somehow Firefox put my email address into the ‘name’ field (normally I never type this in myself as Firefox remembers it).

    [lprent: It is loading it from the cookies on your system. And I see that you found the Delete button.. I’ll zap it out of Pending.]

    • toad 1.1

      Come on, Lanth, for an MP who has been taken to Court for assault, and lost, to even think of asking the taxpayer to pay his legal costs, including the damages awarded agaisnt him, is outrageous.

      Nick Smith was acting in his capacity as an MP when the events that gave rise to his defamation case took place. Gerry Brownlee was just acting in his capacity as a boorish thug in the events that gave rise to his assault case.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        Ok, I wasn’t familiar with the situation, and Marty’s post didn’t indicate that Gerry lost the case.

        In which case yeah, I think going cap in hand to the government when you lost a case (for something like assault) asking for them to pick up the tab is pretty horrid behaviour.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Actually there was no Delete button, and I haven’t seen the Edit button for a while either. If I see an edit button after I post this, I’ll edit this post, if not I won’t.

      • lprent 1.2.1

        Try now. I’d forgotten to turn it back on.

        There was a problem with it and the caching function on Monday, it was serving up other peoples reedit. According to my reading that is meant to be fixed if you change the installation order. Never got to test it because at that time the server config was a bit unstable.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      Last time I looked, assaulting people wasn’t part of parliamentary business.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    An assault case hardly comes into the category of the usual speeches where the wrong words make them liable.
    Interesting that Whale Oil has claimed previously that he was at the meeting as an enforcer along with ‘Brownshirt’ Brownlee

    • Bright Red 2.1

      lolz ‘oh no whale oil is going to beat me up’

      that fat little dick couldn’t threaten anyone.

  3. ak 3

    I remember seeing footage of this incident on the telly news of the time…….would love to see it again, not only as a reminder of what genial old uncle Gerry is capable of but as a measure of his gall in applying to have the taxpayer fund his defence. It’s up there with accusing people of “breeding for a business” as an expose of our leaders’ true natures…..anyone able to get their hands on a copy?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      Dont expect a rant from the Oily cetacean about the sense of ‘entitlement of the troughers’

      As for the video, expect the TV news to dig it up as ‘background’ to their stories on this

  4. MARTY G
    Well done, again on this article.
    The standard brings some good news to the forefront. I am a hard right winger and often post these stories to my facebook.

    I am again sad at our MPs attitudes.

  5. big bruv 5

    You might not be worried about Nick Smith charging his legal bills to the tax payer but there are many of us who are.

    Leaving aside that Smith is a complete idiot there is no way on earth that I or any other tax payer should have to fund his defence, even more so when one considers what type of charge he is defending.

    Stuff Smith, he can pay for it himself, and if he goes broke in the process, it is not my problem.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Yeah, well, that’s probably because you’re stupid.

      The expenses related to his work as an MP and, as such, we are behoven to pick up the tab.

      • big bruv 5.1.1

        His “work” involves slandering people who are trying to make a living?

        Only a socialist could come up with that “logic”

        And by the way, I think the word you are looking for is behooves, “to be necessary or proper for, as for moral or ethical considerations; be incumbent on: It behooves the court to weigh evidence impartially.”

        There is no such word as “behoven”, you might want to consider that before calling other people stupid.

        • chris 5.1.1.1

          you can’t work in a commercial or professional environment then. most workplaces will have insurance to cover legal costs arising from one of their employees doing work and this is no different

          captcha: intelligent, something big bruv seems to be flouting at every turn

  6. Peter Johns 6

    Glad to see some of these payments will be offset by suing the Waihopai 3:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10636892
    Sue the bastards for all they have. They admitted doing the damage after all. Valdalising scm.

  7. Peter Johns 7

    nah, I cannot be stuffed spell checking after a few beers.

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    So I’m supposing the lawyers are on legal aid rates?
    Or are legal aid rates too low?

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