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.