Rorty rorty

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, November 11th, 2013 - 89 comments
Categories: same old national - Tags:

You’ll remember that, back in 2009, Bill ‘Double Dipton’ English was caught claiming an ‘out of town’ allowance – intended to pay for non-Wellington-based MPs’ accommodation in the capital – to pay the mortgage on his family home in Karori. Key’s solution was to let all his ministers claim the rort. Now, it turns out some of them are doubling down on the rort.

The play goes like this:

MPs are able to get Parliamentary Services to match their superannuation contributions at a rate of $2.50 of every dollar they put in up to $28,920. Why that much? Well, it equates to the MP contributing 8% of their salary, the maximum you can put into Kiwisaver.

But what if you don’t want to contribute 8% yourself to get your 20% top up from Parliamentary Services? How can you get your hands on the bonus cash anyway?

Set up a private superfund. Make that superfund own your house. Your mortgage payments go into the superfund. Now, the mortgage payments you would have to make anyway are getting matched 2.5 to 1 by Parliamentary Services.

You’ve gained $29,000 a year for doing nothing other than add a step to how you pay your mortgage.

Add in the accommodation allowance for another $37,500 if you’re minister, $24,000 for a backbencher.

I suspect there’s more to this. The housing double-dip is being used by 6 MPs, but why do another 29 National MPs have private superannuation funds as well? 35 of National’s 59 MPs have private superannuation funds. The entire rest of New Zealand’s 4.5 million-strong population has just 203 private superannuation funds between us. Put it another way: 59% of National MPs have these funds; just 0.005% of the rest of the population has one. They’re up to something.

I reckon it will be more payments that they need to make anyway being routed through superfunds as contributions to get the Parliamentary Services bonus.

89 comments on “Rorty rorty ”

  1. Chocolate 1

    Higher standards, said John the Con.

    Higher standards of rorting! That is what he meant!!!

    • Labour Voter 1.1

      Please do not forget that there four labour MPs doing this also…

      • Murray Olsen 1.1.1

        Any MP from any party doing this should have to pay the lot back and resign in disgrace.

      • Yes but at least they believe in a decent minimum wage and are supporting the Livable Wage campaign.

        • Rob A 1.1.2.1

          Doesn’t matter. They got to go. 99% of the impact of this on the swing vote is gone because now the right can say “but Labour MPs do it too”

          If these Labour MPs really believed in “a decent minimum wage and are supporting the Livable Wage campaign” then getting rid of National is phase 1. Nothing else matters

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Another round of Double dipping –

    Get the taxpayer to pay you to live in whats effectively your own house, and get a superannuation subsidy as well.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    So how come MPs can set up a superfund and get contributions like this?

    Couldn’t any ordinary Joe-Schmoe do the same, and get their employer to pay what otherwise would have been their kiwisaver contribution into the fund?


    [a quick look at the Kiwisaver website shows nothing about people being able to set up their own Kiwisaver-compliant schemes, which it would need to be to get the employers’ contribution. Maybe it was done special for MPs when Kiwisaver was created and replaced the old super framework that Parliament had. Eddie]

    • Tat Loo (CV) 3.1

      Ordinary Joe-Schmoe don’t have the right lawyers and accountants to do this kind of work.

      • Mariana Pineda 3.1.1

        But some of those doing it are lawyers themselves ie Sam Lotu-IIga and Simon Bridges.
        This must reflective of the ethics they assumed they learned in law school.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.2

      Probably, but the crown pays mps 2.5 for every 1 the mp puts in, which is a large part of what makes it all worthwhile.

    • mickysavage 3.3

      Anyone can register a trust under the Superannuation Schemes Act 1989 but there is no reason for Joe Bloggs to do so.

      MPs and Judges do so because they can then direct the Government contribution to their superannuation to be paid to a trust they control. If they do not have their own scheme then the Government scheme administers their superannuation including the Government contribution.

      I would say that pretty well every scheme belongs to a Judge or MP.

    • Lanthanide 3.4

      Eddie – ah, I was thinking it wouldn’t be a qualifying Kiwisaver fund, you’d just tell your employer “You’re going to pay 3% of my salary anyway, instead of putting it into KS fund, just put it into my own superfund”.

      The difference here though is that your superfund wouldn’t be eligible for the other KS tidbits, like the government “tax credit”.

    • Labour Voter 3.5

      Eddie – you are right. This is MPs only arrangement

  4. it is worth keeping in mind that todays’ is part one of a three-parter..

    ..i am assuming labour mp’s (and others) will be up next..?

    ..d’yareckon..?

    ..this could be a multi-party ambition-killer..eh..?

    ..and some ‘real’ journlalism from the herald..

    ..go figure..!

    (this is kinda interesting too..the detective-work that went into ferreting out this hidden/secret info..)

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11154978

    “..More than 7.2 million property records were extracted from Land Information titles and owners’ lists.

    These records were combined using cloud servers to create a searchable database of property records.

    Since the property titles data do not include addresses-

    – a piece of custom software was created to identify and locate each property –

    – while another extracted MPs’ trusts – companies – and declared properties –

    – from the Register of Pecuniary Interest.

    Combining all of these tools resulted in a map of properties owned by every MP –

    – both personally and through trusts – superannuation schemes – or companies.

    While MPs who control their own trusts and superannuation schemes are readily found through this database –

    – other MPs structure their affairs in ways that make it difficult or impossible to find their properties.

    For example – John Key’s “blind trust” means his name never appears on a property record..”

    ..phillip ure..

    • Pete 4.1

      Of the 238 private superannuation schemes registered in New Zealand, about 40 belong to current MPs and 35 of those are National MPs.

      NZ Herald

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      – other MPs structure their affairs in ways that make it difficult or impossible to find their properties.

      For example – John Key’s “blind trust” means his name never appears on a property record..”

      Which tells us that blind trusts need to be outlawed. Society needs to know who owns what.

  5. Pete 5

    Keith Ng is quickly becoming one of NZ’s best investigative journalists. The next government better keep their noses clean.

    • Tim 5.1

      I hope he backs up his database/evidence offshore/safe somewhere. I’m pretty bloody sure he does. Reminds me that I’ve still got a Finacial Management Database from a govt department during the last time the Natzis were in power. (it was ekshly done under instruction from a careerist muddle management when fears of the Y2K impending disaster were imminent).
      One or two juicy bits in there I seem to remember. Oh … as were things like policy analyst’s reports taken from a Whanganui server into the perception of racism evident in a Police District when some poor bugger got shot.
      Funny thing though, when I last looked at it, the names of protagonists and players involved – THEY’RE ALL still around FFS! (quite a few ‘performance bonuses’ later as well).

      It’s really easier to just be str8up me thinks

  6. infused 6

    And why aren’t you naming them then? majority of them on your team?

  7. amirite 7

    Any MP participating in this rort should resign instantly, regardless of the party they belong to.
    If we want any change, Labour should lead the way in this. Otherwise, it’s more of the same old, same old and that won’t win them votes.

  8. ianmac 8

    If asked Mr English would say that it is quite legal and it probably is.
    But ethical/moral? Huh!

  9. bad12 9

    Ah the sweet stench of corruption wafting across the future of this National Governments re-election chances,

    The electorate expects it’s elected representatives to behave not only to the letter of the rules but in the spirit of transparency which should surround the financial dealings of all our elected representatives,

    Bridge’s non-declaration of a property He claims to be ‘holding’ on behalf of a ‘friend’ should in a normal world see His Ministerial warrant the first to be withdrawn, but watch as He is allowed to worm His way out of this by making a ‘late’ statement to the Parliament,

    This has all the hallmarks of double and triple dipping by all those involved and while those with their noses buried deep in the trough via an until now unseen loophole might not pay for such rorting as they should this will serve to further tarnish Slippery’s Government heading into election year…

  10. Will@Welly 10

    And dear old Dame Margaret Bazley was the one who said they didn’t need to let anyone know about these rorts back in the day. The National Party’s crony – think Ecan and the person who was supposed to do a hatchet job on the Fire Service – gives these self-serving buffoons a free pass.
    As for J.K., he has turned a $10 billion debt into almost $60 billion in less than 5 years, so he is not that fiscally prudent, so “give him a break” – yeah friggin’ right !!
    It shows how complacent this country has become, thanks to Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson – their policies have taken the guts out of this country. With what we are seeing, there should be rioting.

  11. ianmac 11

    Mr Key reassured listeners on TV1 that it was all OK and that they weretold by the Registrar for Pecuniary Interests not to do so.Pecuniary bosses had told the MPs to not declare their hidden assets?
    No one is asking why would they be told to hide these assets? Why? Why?

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      Because they were in the private super scheme.

      The question isn’t ‘why didn’t you disclose?’, it’s ‘why did you set it up so that the Registrar would tell you not to disclose’.

      • mickysavage 11.1.1

        Yep. The pecuniary register rules require disclosure of

        “1(f) the location of each parcel of real property in which the member has a legal interest in the fee simple or leasehold or stratum estate, or in which any such interest is held by a trust that the member knows (or ought reasonably to know) he or she is a beneficiary of, but does not include land held by a member as a trustee only or property held by a superannuation scheme disclosed under subclause (1)(g), and
        1(g) the name of each registered superannuation scheme in which the member has a pecuniary interest … ”

        The details are at page 65 of http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0000193444

  12. Once again, National reveals itself as the fish that rorts from the head.

  13. amirite 13

    When you’re earning a 6 figure salary you’re not only allowed but you’re entitled to rort the system. Actually, you are ADVISED not to declare.

    • Bob 13.1

      Yip, throw back to when you used to be hit by rediculous top tax rates, so you simply shift your income to different areas. Doesn’t happen so much anymore (which is part of the reason the income from the current top tax rate has increased so dramatically), but if Labour introduce their proposed tax on earners over $150,000 watch the tax take drop as it starts happening a lot more.

  14. Tracey 14

    Interesting that a couple say the house is their super scheme while another in the same city said if hed bought as an investment he would be very disappointed.

    The point is not that what they have done is legal its that they fight a 15 minimum wage but on their huge salaries plus expenses feel they need even more.

    isnt this the same sense of entitlement the nats posters here hate in some beneficiaries?

  15. Tracey 15

    Didnt hipkins declare despite being in a private scheme? Suggests they can disclose if they want to.

  16. Pascal's bookie 16

    Here’s a crazy idea.

    Build a hostel. Charge ’em board. let them deduct that board from their taxable income for PAYE. better deal that most other workers get whose job of choice in another town.

    All other fringe bene’s to be managed by winz case officers.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      Build a hostel.

      That’s exactly what needs to happen. It’d be a lot cheaper for us than the rorts that our MPs presently have going.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 16.2

      After all if its good enough for the Pope to live in a Vatican ‘hostel’ surely MPs can do the same.

      After all 20 years ago most out of town Mps shared flats , and only Ministers lived in single family houses ( owned by the taxpayer )

    • Horace in the east 16.3

      There’s a bloody good hostel in Taranaki Street they could all stay at. It’s in their quality of class, it’s called the night shelter – reasonably cheap too. Only trouble, they’d drag the standard of clientele staying there.

  17. Tracey 17

    Oh but bookie they shouldnt have yo live in such cramped circumstances… thats for poor people

  18. yeshe 18

    Is it valid to ask why the super contribution remained at $2.50 per dollar when Kiwisaver was cut down to $1 ?? Are they related or not ? Thx.

    This is the most corrupted and selfish bunch of sods ever in this blue party with the Arch-Duke Slippery himself. They are sickening.

    • Lanthanide 18.1

      The government KiwiSaver contribution used to be up to a matching $1,042, at $20 a week, and was reduced to $521, at $10 a week, for every $20 the saver put in.

      • Hayden 18.1.1

        Was that before or after employer contributions were raised by 50%, to then be taxed at 33%?

        • Lanthanide 18.1.1.1

          Employers started taxing contributions at your marginal tax rate before the contribution rate was raised to 3% from 2%. Both of those changes happened after the government reduced the “tax credit” contribution to $521 from $1,042.

      • yeshe 18.1.2

        thx Lanthanide

  19. Tracey 19

    And this is why labour greens have to hound the message..

    WHO has the economy succeeded for?

    Not….

    not….

    and so on

  20. Pascal's bookie 20

    Keith Ng is doing an AMA on this at the Herald now:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11155031&ss=1

    and slaying the predictable Farrar fed trolls with righteous abandon. take that, whallop. And you, smack. etc.

    • Fisiani 20.1

      Keith Ng is pointing out that National MP’s have been following the rules. Shock horror. He obviously does not like the rules., but cannot claim that is a rort to simply follow the rules. This is another Keith Ng facepalm.

      • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1

        Read his comments moran.

      • Tracey 20.1.2

        He didnt write it was a rort but he implied it was wrong.

        I know you struggle with the concept of behaviour being higher than the minimum required by law fisiani.

        but it is the pm who set the mark higher than the previous labour govt whose mantra was “if its legal” but you are cool with his lies cos hes on your “team”, right?

      • Draco T Bastard 20.1.3

        Rort

        verb
        [no object] Australian/NZ
        engage in sharp practice.
        [with object] manipulate (a ballot or records) fraudulently; rig.
        [with object] work (a system) to obtain the greatest benefit while remaining within the letter of the law.

        Rort is the correct term. It comes back to: Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it’s right. In this instance, what the MPs are doing is obviously wrong.

    • Bob 20.2

      He might be getting smacked himself soon:
      The Privacy Act states:

      Privacy Act 1993 Clause 59 Public Register Privacy Principles …

      Principle 2 Use of information from public registers

      Personal information obtained from a public register shall not be re-sorted, or combined with personal information obtained from any other public register, for the purpose of making available for valuable consideration personal information assembled in a form in which that personal information could not be obtained directly from the register.

      Whoops, probably should have investigated the law first Keith.

  21. amirite 21

    Why are Labour politicians quiet on this? Where the hell is Cunliffe? He’s been a no-show for quite a while, how the hell does he think he’ll win in 2014?

  22. Saarbo 22

    I think this shows how much the poor and vulnerable in New Zealand are in serious need of a political party that has real integrity and leadership. This is absolutely shocking, these people clearly are not in parliament to serve, they are there to maximise their personal financial return. And I get pissed of with people who say “well its legal so its ok”, that is utter bullshit, we should expect a lot fucken better than this. Of course the other question is around Capital Gains Tax and what are the right economic policy settings to get this country going, with all these MP’s buying investment housing combined with their self serving financial structures to rort the system, it shows why these National MP’s are so resistant to implementing a Capital gains Tax.

  23. Pete 23

    I wonder where the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union stands on this.

    • Pascal's bookie 23.1

      They sent out a tweet linking to it, job done. Busy working out much coffee is used in civil sector lunchrooms that isn’t greggs red rebbon roast bought from the past its expiry date shop..

  24. wyndham 24

    Why is everyone getting so wound up over this? Don’t they know that there is “Nothing to see. Nothing to hide”?

  25. Tracey 25

    engage in sharp practice = rort

  26. AmaKiwi 26

    I’m surprised Key didn’t say, “They’re only following the Golden Rule: Them that control your gold make the rules.”

  27. Simeon 27

    This is a tough one considering MPs need somewhere to stay whilst in Wellington. So how do you provide for this by not allowing the MPs to benefit personally?

    1) the Crown buys a pool of apartments to assign by way of a lottery system
    2) the MP’s rent from private landlords
    3) they stay at hotels

    The 2nd doesn’t stop the MP’s renting from a mate and the 3rd is just too expensive. So that leaves the first option as the only non-corrupt method. The out of town MP’s are no better off than those from the Wellington region.

    For those MPs who choose to move their family to Wellington whilst being a MP out of town should not be allocated a crown property.

    P.S. I do love it though when the MSM publish something that is seen to be against the Left you are quick to knock it down. But once the same news outlets publish something that attacks the Right it is taken as being gospel. As someone said this is only part 1.

    • Tim 27.1

      I think there’s a building in Lambton Quay they could pick up for a song. It’s the old T&G or Harcourts building. They could make some shady deal and keep their troughing mates happy while they’re at it.

    • QoT 27.2

      But once the same news outlets publish something that attacks the Right it is taken as being gospel.

      1. The news outlet may be the same, but the journalist who actually did the work is Keith Ng – not your average pundit.

      2. The article – and Keith expanded on this in his live chat earlier today – clearly mentions that there are Labour MPs who are using the same rules, and the previous issues with Green MPs’ accommodation allowances. From the article:

      As well as the six MPs with Wellington properties in Super funds, a further 26 MPs who get accommodation allowances also have properties in Wellington which are disclosed on the register. Nineteen are National MPs and four are from Labour. The others are the two Maori Party co-leaders and NZ First’s Denis O’Rourke.

      Nineteen out of 26 are National MPs. Four are from Labour. Looks like a pretty rightwing problem to me (thought Keith Ng himself was far more gracious, pointing out that National MPs are more likely to have business backgrounds and thus more assets/better accountants).

    • Ron 27.3

      State Houses. There are plenty of them in Hutt Valley places like Taita would be idea as it would bring MP’s closer to their voting public. Great train service from the Valley into Wellington so no need of Crown Cars.

    • Lila Richards 27.4

      Dormitories! (Segregated, of course!)

  28. lolitas brother 28

    I think many people would rather see an MP and Minister salary package which incorporates other benefits.

    This argument of Eddies says that because there is a housing accommodation allowance
    and because there is also a Superannuation, this is double dipping. Eddie could have completed his word mince by saying that if we then add in the MP salary its triple dipping, then add in travel allowance its quadruple dipping.

    Doesn’t matter where those incomes go, it’s the allowance given to MP’s.
    The system where the MP buys a home in family Trust in Wellington does give that MP or Minister advantages, no doubt about that.
    The home allowance , and superannuation allowance are two things separate.
    It may be an MP or Judge places both these benefits in a Trust owning a home. But socialists can do the same if they want to.

    If the application of funds to a home is a rort, is it still a rort if a Labour Government is returned next year, and continues the present system. Maybe not that would be different .
    If the public see these benefits as favouring some , then maybe we can get ready for transfer of housing and superannuation benefits to salaries.
    These would then be big salaries. It would be very hard for the socialist MP’s to accept these salaries of course, and many of them would probably choose to donate that salary to charity as does John Key

    • Pascal's bookie 28.1

      What a load of absolute shite, nicely wrapped up with a final piece of nonsense.

      Bet you can’t offer any evidence whatsoever that Key donates his salary to charity.

    • amirite 28.2

      Oh fuck, not that urban myth again. He donates a PART of his salary to charity – for all we know it could be just $20, if that.

      • Ron 28.2.1

        But of course he would get 33 cents in the dollar back courtesy of Inland Revenue

      • felix 28.2.2

        “Oh fuck, not that urban myth again. He donates a PART of his salary to charity – for all we know it could be just $20, if that.”

        “Good causes” is what he said he donated part of his salary to as leader of the opposition.

        So anything he happens to think is “good” would count. The Waitemata Trust, for example.

  29. rob 29

    Perhaps John throw them some slack should declare the charities!
    Just wondering?

  30. Chocolate 30

    Ian who??

    (Today’s second part.)

  31. Bearded Git 31

    It was interesting that TV3 News last night named and pictured the 6 MP’s involved in the personal superannuation rort but never once said that they were all National MP’s.

    Not good enough.

  32. Dumrse 32

    Never mind BG, look again tonight and see if there is anything about Labours Auckland Mayor and his junket to HongKong. Seems to be an interesting development in the wind.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 32.1

      Brown was elected as an independent. Dont you think its unusual a so called “union of taxpayers’ is asking about a privately funded trip ( Hong Kong government) during the time Brown was on leave.
      Where is the taxpayers money ? . As normal for these things the host picks up the costs- As David Farrer well knows , he even specifies which airline not to use when HE gets a junket

  33. Tracey 33

    … and Key keeps a straight face when he talks about kiwis love affair with property has to stop. Was surprised double dipton didn’t feature.

  34. And each one of these toerags voted against a livable wage .E

  35. And each one of these toerags voted against a livable wage .E

  36. lolitas brother 36

    Pascal’s bookie28.1 12 November 2013 at 6:14 am

    What a load of absolute shite, nicely wrapped up with a final piece of nonsense.
    Bet you can’t offer any evidence whatsoever that Key donates his salary to charity.

    I just love the language and the bile that comes from this site. You people do get worked up.
    Pascal the logic of the salary benefits is quite straight forward, just try to read carefully and not foam.
    Pascal the PM told me he donates salary to charity. I asked him specifically if it was a minor or a major contribution. He said major. I said more than half. He said all of it is a major donation.

    • Tracey 36.1

      “You people…”

      Pascal’s Bookie is one person as far as I know. If you love bile and vitriol may I offer the following suggestion;

      go to whaleoil or kiwiblog where the comments use far more offensive language.

      As an aside, how did you come to be having that conversation with the PM, and in what context were you able to get him to speak so freely to you?

      Have a read of this post to test the trustworthiness of the PM’s word.

      http://thestandard.org.nz/an-honest-man/

    • felix 36.2

      “Pascal the PM told me he donates salary to charity. I asked him specifically if it was a minor or a major contribution. He said major. I said more than half. He said all of it is a major donation.

      When was that? Cos I asked him just now, like 30 seconds ago, and he said he only donates to weapons manufacturers and Al Queda.

      Also he said he doesn’t really like you, he just pretends to because he wants to fuck your sister.

      etc.

  37. Brian 37

    A govt of hypocrites. They are little more than thieves. Morally bereft and barely legal.

  38. felix 38

    Idiot Savant asks a very important question: Can other people make contributions to these private superannuation schemes?

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