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Something dodgy in Dipton

Written By: - Date published: 10:21 am, August 3rd, 2009 - 102 comments
Categories: bill english, corruption - Tags:

Bill English is unrepentant over his $47,000 a year rort of the ministers’ Wellington accommodation allowance. He is claiming the allowance, which is intended to compensate non-Wellington-based ministers for the cost of accommodation in the city due to their ministerial duties, for living in his family home in Karori.

This exploitation of the system for nothing but personal enrichment by a man we already pay $276,700 a year cannot be allowed to stand. The excuses he has come up with are nonsense. The rightwing spin machine, so adept at attacking poor solo mothers, has seized up; no defence of English is forthcoming. Those righties that are commenting are attacking English. He’s a dead man walking.

Some  more questions:

Is the Dipton property leased out or does another branch of the English clan live there? Hard to imagine a farm just sitting idly for the few weekends a year he’s in the region. Hard to see how he can say it’s his place of residence if it’s leased out or, say, his brother’s family lives there.

Why did English transfer his ownership in the house to Mary if not to facilitate the rort? What consideration did English get for his share of ownership in the house? Did he gift it? Was gift duty paid?

Why doesn’t his interest in the house or the trust appear in the register of pecuniary interests, unless he’s a boarder? Is he a boarder? If so, is there a tenancy agreement? Are the tax rules, which potentially mean tax needs to be paid or a tax deduction is possible, being applied?

If the ludicrous situation in which English is a boarder in his own home renting from his wife is the reality, there’s still problems. There’s a huge 5 bedroom house for rent not far from English’s for just $900 a week. Using Sorted, I estimate the mortgage payments on his house (purchased in 2003 when interest rates were 7% for $800,000, standard 10% deposit) at $1200 a week. English should only be paying half. The maximum he can claim for rent or mortgage is $700 per week. It’s simply too much for that house.

But if he’s claiming less than $700 for the rent/mortgage there’s still a problem. The remainder of the$920 has to be assigned to cleaning, power/gas, insurance, and maintenance. How is English managing to spend at least $220 a week on a half share of those costs for the house?

Will we see the details of English’s expense claims for past years and the financials of the Endeavour trust so that the relevant facts are on the table? After all, it was good enough when bullying solo mums, it should be good enough when the much larger expense claims from a senior elected official are in question.

102 comments on “Something dodgy in Dipton ”

  1. Graeme 1

    Why would the interest rate still be 7%?

  2. Ianmac 2

    Key said on Morning report this morning that English claims $700pw. $47,000 works out at $903pw. Which is it?

    • Bright Red 2.1

      He’s claiming up to $700 for the rent or mortgage pm home and another chunk for housing costs like power, cleaning and stuff

      “The maximum he can claim for rent or mortgage is $700 per week….

      But if he’s claiming less than $700 for the rent/mortgage there’s still a problem. The remainder of the $920 has to be assigned to cleaning, power/gas, insurance, and maintenance. How is English managing to spend at least $220 a week on a half share of those costs for the house?”

    • Craig Glen Eden 2.2

      Oh look we all know Key is not good with figures. But man what a visionary!!!!!!

  3. greenfly 3

    Something dodgy in Dipton?
    Not so much as there used to be, now that English lives in Wellington.

  4. Whilst this is discomforting for Mr English, he will survive, for he is vital to the current government and will not be neutralised by this issue. The real issue is whether the remuneration and expenses regime in Parliament is open to rorting or, at worst, to corruption, The call should be for a transparent inverstigation of that regime, to be conducted promptly, and to report publicly. The Speaker could set this in train, with support from all parties.

    • Armchair Critic 4.1

      RW – you are right, he will survive, because the puppet never fires the puppeteer.

  5. Lew 5

    Ian, the former figure is rent, the latter presumably includes utilities, etc (accounted for separately).

    Marty, the political mileage here doesn’t look to be in nickel-and-dimeing but in the principle of transferring ownership to claim the right to a rental payment. Wild speculation about a comparable house, guesses at mortgage payments and interest rates and such, doesn’t seem especially useful.

    L

    • vto 5.1

      Lew, you are right re transferring ownership to claim the right to a rental payment. It may be too much of a long headline to gain such traction though.

      And also, this is exactly what the Green Party does too I understand………….

      messy times ahead

      • Lew 5.1.1

        vto, I don’t really understand the difference but I believe there is one between what the Greens do and this case. It looks much the same to me, though. Anyone care to explain the actual substantive differences?

        L

        • SPC 5.1.1.1

          A Super Fund invests its money.

          If it chooses residential property (there is no CGT, the party is however for a CGT) then it rents it to people. The amount it receives is not dependent on who these people are.

          If the amount of rent charged to the Green MP’s is simply the market rate, then rent money received is no different than if there were other tenants (there is the one advantage of security of tenant income flow in having its own MPs rent).

          The only issue of concern is if rent charged is greater than the market rate and this is an exploitation of the accomodation expenses scheme for MP’s.

          In the case of Bill English the issue is his expenses claim for living with his wife and family. This hidden by the use of the Trust which hides his partners income level from being an issue (she earns enough to pay for herself and partner and children and their income and houisng needs – and of course so does Bill).

          • Lew 5.1.1.1.1

            SPC, thanks.

            So the difference is the arm’s-length relationship of the fund (owner) and its tenants, which isn’t so in the English case, where the owner and tenants are the same, with no formal abstraction or oversight between.

            L

          • vto 5.1.1.1.2

            Good luck with explaining that to the public SPC. To most eyes the two situations will appear as one and the same. Which, for all intents and purposes, they are..

            • toad 5.1.1.1.2.1

              No, they are not.

              The Green Super Fund will have a portfolio of investments, some of which will be shares, some of which will be properties, and some of which may be other investments. The fact that some of the properties are rented to Green MPs who claim an accommodation allowance for staying outside Wellington is irrelevant. They would still be rented to someone, if it were not to Green MPs. And the Green MPs who live outside Wellington would still be claiming an accommodation allowance if they were renting from someone else. The only advantage to the Green Super Fund is that the properties have guaranteed tenants for 3 years, and there is no advantage to the MPs.

              In English’s case, he (or his or his wife’s Family Trust) is acquiring an asset that is being paid for by the accommodation allowance he receives supposedly for having to stay “away from home” but the reality is that for all practicable purposes his home actually is the property he claims the accommodation allowance for – his wife works in Wellington, his kids go to school in Wellington, and they all live together as a family in that home.

  6. Tigger 6

    This entire thing has to be looked at. This isn’t just a National issue, it’s across all MPs. The system is dodgy. Why subsidise travel for MPs after they retire? And why their spouses? No one else gets this level of benefit after they leave a job.

    That said, for National and Act to be taking this whole ‘it’s what I’m owed’ line is ludricous and only gives the public sector fuel to resist further cuts. If they’re not tightening their belts (and they’re not, between expenses and the lack of cuts in ministerial services they’ve made no sacrifices) why should anyone else?

    The Right never were good at leading by example, of course. It’s very much, do as I say, not as I do with them.

    • vto 6.1

      Tigger I have never understood how the MPs can justify granting themselves such a gold-plated superannuation scheme and yet leave the public with a rusty and tangled heap.

      It is beyond me. Perhaps they have their fingers crossed behind their backs. It is the height of rudeness, to put it mildly.

      • Daveski 6.1.1

        Exactly Tigger.

        When the story broke, I opined that I expected to see little if any reaction from the left politicians because they all have their noses in the same trough – sorry, r0b will want me to point out that the left’s nose is principled 🙂

        The other irony is that the NZH seems to be driving the issue which doesn’t help the conspiracy.

        Mind you, John Armstrong seems to be agreeing with me so perhaps he’s just a puppet of the right after all:

        English also knows his embarrassment will be fleeting. You will not hear politicians from other political parties criticising him because much the same thing will be going on within their own ranks. They will simply look the other way. No one is going to risk retaliation.

        The cone of silence will effectively choke the story from going much further. The parliamentary old boys (and girls) club will see to that, though the Prime Minister’s declaring it “could” be time to look at the rules on allowances may help stem any public backlash.

        KiwiBlog is likewise appalled at what is a bad look for English although DPF is trying to mount a defence that makes Custer’s look inspired!

        • r0b 6.1.1.1

          r0b will want me to point out that the left’s nose is principled

          Only if it’s true Daveski, as in this case it is.

          Ministers Marian Hobbs and Phillida Bunkle were found to be similarly rorting the Wellington Accommodation allowance in 2001. They were immediately stood down from Ministerial duties while it was investigated.

          The Auditor General declared them in the clear – what they were doing was legal. But Bunkle never regained her ministerial position, and Hobbs voluntarily paid the money back. Rather principled don’t you think?

          Will English be stood down? Will the AG be called in to investigate? Will English pay the money back? Fat chance. No one is accountable in Key’s government.

          • Tim Ellis 6.1.1.1.1

            It’s not really the same thing, r0b. Hobbs and Bunkle were residents in Wellington and stood as Wellington Central candidates and moved their place of residence outside Wellington to maximise their allowances.

            Mr English is the MP for Clutha Southland. He has a home in Dipton. He’s entitled to an allowance to keep a home in Wellington, just as Dr Cullen, Mr Hodgson, Mr Anderton, Mrs Chadwick, Mr Cunliffe, Ms Dalziel, Ms Street, Mr Parker, Mr Maharey, Mr Carter, Mr Goff, Mr Peters, Mr Horomia and Ms Dyson were entitled.

            The difference is we don’t know how much they were costing the taxpayers for their residential accommodation, or how it was constructed, because Labour never released the information.

            Some of them already own property in Wellington according to the register of pecuniary interests. Did they forego a ministerial allowance and stay in their own homes, did they take subsidies from the government to live in their own home, or did they take rental from their property in wellington while they lived in a Ministerial house?

            • r0b 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Hobbs and Bunkle were residents in Wellington and stood as Wellington Central candidates and moved their place of residence outside Wellington to maximise their allowances

              Whereas English is a long time resident in Wellington and adjusted his family trust so as to pretend his place of residence is outside Wellington to maximise his allowance.

              It’s not really the same thing, r0b.

              No no, completely different. I see that now.

            • Craig Glen Eden 6.1.1.1.1.2

              No Tim wrong. English is not entitled to the allowance if his home is in Wellington which it is he his wife and kids have lived there for years . If he wants wife and kids close he cant claim the away from home allowance. Thats the difference, it has nothing to do with a MP accruing an asset with the away from home allowance.

        • burt 6.1.1.2

          Who cares what the AG has to say – he’s know for making bad calls and can be declared wrong with a stroke of the pen. No need for court cases to clear it up – parliament know best.

      • Ianmac 6.1.2

        VTO: “Tigger I have never understood how the MPs can justify granting themselves such a gold-plated superannuation scheme” or generous extras.
        Answer: Because they can. Highest court in the land so to whom can an appeal be made?

  7. Rob A 7

    Although I agree with the majortity of this post that the whole thing is a long going disgrace, it is entirely possible that your questions regarding his farm are incorrect.

    I’m not claiming to have any inside knowledge of Bills particulars but he could easily have a house of his own there and have a farm manager living in another house on the property.

  8. SPC 8

    An MP.

    How does one claim expenses for living with ones partner?

    One says the home is owned by some Trust (his and or hers).

    A Minister

    How does one then not name the Trust as an interest for a Minister to declare (January).

    One puts the Trust in the name of ones wife (March).

    July.

    Labour asks why a person losing their job cannot get the dole if they have a working partner (even one simply on the minimum wage, the rate for exclusion from income support has fallen to this level after minimum wage increases from 7 to $12.50 an hour over the past 9 years).

    There is no working partner test for receiving housing expense money for MP’s and Ministers.

    Thus Bill can even claim expenses for living with his wife in a home they own through a Trust.

    When by any objective test if a doctor cannot support herself, her partner and their children with all their income and housing needs then their salary is too low for a doctor. No wonder we have a GP shortage IF that is the case.

  9. ghostwhowalks 9

    Check out the house the Government rents from Keys Family Trust ( listed on the register unlike English) as his electorate office.
    This another rort, that MPs can choose a rented office in their electorate up to a reasonable amount, but the place has been especially bought by a trust just for that purpose.

    • sausage fingers 9.1

      How’s that a rort?

      Provided the rent is market rent the taxpayer is not losing out.

      • ghostwhowalks 9.1.1

        Trouble is that Dipton is unlikely to be the place English stays when he ‘visits’ his electorate.
        Dipton is about halfway between Invercargill and Queenstown

        While Invercargill isnt in his electorate, Queenstown is .

        So we taxpayers pay for his home visits as well. , probably mostly in Queenstown and sometimes in Gore and Balclutha

      • ghostwhowalks 9.1.2

        Its not a arms length transaction, the only place available was where he lived ??

        • sausage fingers 9.1.2.1

          Just because it is not an arm’s length transaction doesn’t mean it’s a rort. The test is whether the taxpayer is suffering a greater burden than would otherwise be the case. And if it’s a market rent, the taxpayer is not.

          • ghostwhowalks 9.1.2.1.1

            Wellington based ministers DONT get free houses!!
            The only way this rort gets through the rules is that English technically lives in Dipton , but his wife and kids live in Karori .

            • sausage fingers 9.1.2.1.1.1

              OK. Now I am lost. I thought you were talking about an electorate office rented from Key’s family trust.

  10. ak 10

    No biggie, the media will go lightly on this. Heck, it’s not as if he signed something to raise money for charity, sat in the back of a speeding car or held up a card with “no” on it or something…..

  11. Deep Throat 11

    Didn’t Phillida Bunkle loose her spot in cabinet for this kind of rort?

  12. hvillvoter 12

    I wonder how they are taking this in English’s electorate. How much did he win it by in 2008? Maybe the people of that electorate are happy with him living in Wellington ?

  13. Zaphod Beeblebrox 13

    I don’t mind pollies claiming for living away expenses as long as its transparent. Its up to Bill and all MPs to justify what they claim to the voter. If it means we get better quality representatives, maybe thats a trade off we have to make. Its not unreasonable to want to see his family more, but he has to make the case.

    I’d also make superannuation more transparent, if one party were to propose changes to parliamentary super, I would consider voting for them.

    The bigger issue is members representing areas they don’t even live in, its pretty galling for the voter to have a local member claiming allowances from our taxes for representing them at the same time as living in Wellington AND decrying Wellington as having its head in the sand. A more principled position would be to go on the List or run for a Wellington based seat.

    If the press had any nous they might want to expose the contradiction between actions and words though they seem more interested in lighter issues.

  14. SJ Hawkins 14

    What jumps out about this for me was the comment that without using his own house Bill English would otherwise reside in Vogel House, and that the Gov General is currently in Vogel House while Government House is undergoing a $47 million make-over. I also found an article saying Vogel House got a $360k make-over to prepare it for the GG to temporarily live in. WTF? Why are we splashing out so much on Government House and the GG?
    Put it in comparison, $360k spent on doing up Vogel House for the GG to live there equates to 7.5 years payments to English to live in his own house. And that’s not even scratching the surface when we think about the cost of Government House, and the $47mill renovations!

    • ghostwhowalks 14.1

      The Vogel Houe is a red herring. Its not really for a large family as the accommodation is only a small flat, the rest of the space is more ‘function rooms’.
      The previous ministers all had adult children that stayed there

      The reason why the English ‘famille’ want to stay put is the kids schools in Karori. No way would they move to Petone

      captcha false

      • Pat 14.1.1

        Surely the history of events goes something like this?

        1. Some years ago, Bill and family live on their farm in Dipton.
        2. Bill becomes an MP, and eventually a minister in government.
        3. Travel between Wellington and Dipton is too onerous on family life, so he moves family to Karori.
        4. Kids settled in school, so why move.

        Much time has passed since the original move from Dipton, but the original reason for relocating to Karori is still valid.
        If the English family lived in Wellington, he would still get the $700 per week?

        Without wanting to appear too stupid, I think I am missing something here, because I don’t understand the rort. Someone please explain.

        • MikeG 14.1.1.1

          the rort is that he benefits from being both tenant and landlord – the allowance pays his mortgage.If he truly rented a house, another landlord would benefit.

          • Pat 14.1.1.1.1

            Then I think a far simpler system is to have a capped housing allowance – say $700 p.w. like Key suggests or a lesser figure of $500 p.w. – and the MP/Minister can decide whether to use this to rent a property, or buy a property and put it towards the mortgage.

            • Pat 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh and scrap the whole rates reimbursement. Let the MP’s pay rates etc and property maintenance out of their own pocket like real people.

        • toad 14.1.1.2

          Pat, the rort is that the English family do live in Werllington. If Bill declared them as living in Wellington, he would be unable to get the allowance. But because he maintains the fiction that they live in Dipton, he gets it.

          The fiction is based on section 72(6)(b) of the Electoral Act:

          The place where, for the purposes of this Act, a person resides shall not change by reason only of the fact that the person—

          (b) is absent from that place for any period because of his or her service or that of his or her spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner as a member of Parliament; or…

          Now that clearly applies to electoral registration under the Electoral Act. Whether it can lawfully be extended to matters unrelated to electoral regisration and the Electoral Act (eg place of residence for Parliamentary expenses purposes) is an intersting legal question.

          • Pat 14.1.1.2.1

            But Toad, my point is that the English family didn’t always live in Wellington.

            The longer an MP stays an MP, the travel thing becomes exascerbated, especially if he or she is trying to raise a family at the same time. Why not give them the option to relocate their family to Wellington, and pay them a housing allowance to cover it. The flip side is that it reduces the weekly commuting costs to and from Wellington (I refer you to Jonathon Hunt Travel Expenses 101).

            • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1.2.1.1

              They do now.

              You do realise that if we did what you say then we’d end up buying a lot MPs houses in Wellington don’t you? That’s what Bill English did – he decided to move his family to Wellington, buy a house there and then got the taxpayers to pay for it.

            • ghostwhowalks 14.1.1.2.1.2

              Travel Expenses 101 had Hunt staying in the flat in Parliament and no benefiting personally from renting his own home to the government.
              There are 120 MPs who seem to juggle travelling to Wellington Ok . There are 25 odd Ministers to seem to be happy with a house rented for them ( or owned by the government)
              Even Key with a family still lives in Parnell, has Premier house for staying in Wellington ( he has his own place as well in Wellington but doesnt charge the government rent – as far as we know)

  15. Adrian 15

    It is quite difficult to transfer an expensive property into a trust as there is the 27k limit per year. If say English shifted it in to his wifes name i.e it should take about 40 years to do so for approx1.2 million, or 20years for his share.If this is the case he still owns a large share of the house he’s claiming on. Of course as soon as he’s done his time he can be named as a beneficiary [theres that word again] and he gets the full financial benefit of the current rort. Another issue arises here , if she is the beneficiary of the trust and is self employed does her salary get paid straight into the trust which subsequently allocates her a minimum wage therefore allowing her to pay minimum tax, possibly as little as 15% to 19% and the trust only pays low 30%s on total income,in her case probably north of 200k, and this even allows her to claim family type benefits. This is the scam that lets parents have their kids at private schools paid out of a trust while they draw Family Support, this is very common in farming cicles, in fact one young leftie at an exclusive Chch girls school did an informal survey and thought 30% of the kids families were on to this and almost all the country girls. Is the English family avoiding its full tax liabilities

    • toad 15.1

      Don’t worry, I’m sure Paula will tell us, now that she’s set the precedent for this sort of thing.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.2

      This is the reasoning behind my wish for trusts to become illegal. It’s just a basic scam.

  16. Ron 16

    The trust stuff and Vogel House etc etc is just red herring stuff.
    Legal or not – to tell citizens that they’re profligate spenders and that the public service is a drain on our economy; solo parents receive $500 per week and should just think themselves lucky and stop complaining etc etc then to brazenly say “Oh, that $1000.00 per week – I’m entitled” is just immoral.

  17. Tim Ellis 17

    I believe I read somewhere that a number of Labour MPs have electorate offices that are owned by the labour party and on charged to parliamentary services that pay rent for the property. Is this a rort too? Marty will you be campaigning to have this practice stopped as well since it provides guaranteed rental to the labour party?

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      Personally I think it’s a rort. The funding is due to the fact that electorates need/should have an office for their MP.

      Seems to me that if the party decides to buy a property in an electorate for the use of it’s MP, why should the taxpayer fund it? Alternatively, why should the mechanism for providing electorate offices for MP’s be used as backdoor taxpayer support of the major political parties?

      It comes down to basic decency. Just because some funding is available, that does not make taking it compulsory.

      Can you remember where you saw this Tim? Were they aghast?

      Edit: How is it decided what property an MP will use as an electorate office? Is it an open tender? Does Parliamentary services decide? I think perhaps they should. What reason is there for electorate offices to shift just because a different candidate won an election? Seriously.

      • Tim Ellis 17.1.1

        PB, I can see how if an electorate changes allegiances and an electorate MP becomes a List MP, that party might want to retain the electorate office. MPs have different preferences about where they might want their offices.

        I think it should be an arms-length transaction, though.

        • Pascal's bookie 17.1.1.1

          They might indeed, don’t see why that means I should subsidise it though..

    • toad 17.2

      Actually, Tim, it provides guaranteed rent as long as the MP remains an MP. If the MP loses their seat at an election, or like the Hon Dr Worthy Rooter are forced to resign in disgrace, there is no guarantee of the rent. That’s really just like any normal commercial tenancy. What’s more, the Parliamentary Service commissions a valuation on any proposed MP’s office tenacy which is shared with the Party or where the Party owns the office to ensure the rent being paid is a commercial rent and there is no rorting of it to divert Parliamentary funds into Party coffers.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.3

      If that’s happening then yes, it is.

    • It does happen but the relationship is clear and the rental paid is fixed by valuation.

      There is nothing wrong here. Move on Tim.

      BTW good diversion.

  18. Ron 18

    Tim – it might well be. Of course, it can’t be unless it’s true and it might not be then. That’s not the point. The rorting isn’t the point.
    The point is the holier than thou utterances from a number of ministers lately about the need to cut spending whjile they plainly do very well, thank you, out of the system themselves.

  19. I have now seen the title for the English property and I am perplexed. More comment by him needs to be made.

    I presume that Simon William English and Mary Agnes Scanlon English are the same as Bill and Mary?

    If so then it appears that the property was in his and Mary’s name until March 12, 2009 when a transfer to Mary was registered. The transfer was to “Mary Agnes Scanlon” and the day after then transferred to “Mary Agnes Scanlon English”. I am not sure if this was a muck up by the solicitor or an attempt to create confusion.

    I have also checked the pecuniary register and Marty is right, there is no sign of a trust.

    The link is at http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/04735D25-185C-40F9-88E9-17D9396C7D2E/104529/DBHOH_PAP_18148_RegisterofPecuniaryInterestsofMemb.pdf

    The notes concerning trusts states that if a person has a beneficil interest in a trust then the trust should be included. There are separate provisions recording gifts and debts and if a debt is owed then this should be included in the register of assets. If Bill did transfer to the trust then normally a debt would have occurred.

    So Bill should check carefully his pecuniary register return. Maybe he has taken legal advice and his response is legally correct.

    But this does not remove the permeating smell that is gathering around this particular story.

    • Tim Ellis 19.1

      micky have you paid as close attention to Labour MPs who rented out their Wellington homes to take up ministerial accommodation rather than their own homes, or received a subsidy from ministerial services for living in their own homes?

      I thought not. Why don’t you pay attention to that? Perhaps the fact the information was never released might make it difficult. But the register of pecuniary interests for MPs outside of Wellington definitely records Labour ministers owning property in Wellington. So either they turned down the Ministerial accommodation, lived in their own homes without a subsidy, or received a subsidy.

      That might explain why Labour MPs are so silent on the matter.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 19.1.1

        Why not ask the same questions of all MPs?

        • Tim Ellis 19.1.1.1

          Zaphod, for whatever reason this seems to be the biggest political story of the moment, with a lot of commentary in the media and on blogs, including here.

          Over at the labour party MPs blog, there isn’t a peep.

          I wonder why? Is there something they don’t want disclosed?

          • mickysavage 19.1.1.1.1

            This debate has become a festering sore in the UK. All politicians realise that no matter which way you approach it the outcome is negative for all of them.

            For me I am not bound by those considerations. And after the events of the past couple of weeks including the treatment of the two beneficiaries by Bennett I think that English and National deserves every bit of opprobium that is heaped on them. The H word and the C word have particular relevance to them.

      • jarbury 19.1.2

        micky have you paid as close attention to Labour MPs who rented out their Wellington homes to take up ministerial accommodation rather than their own homes, or received a subsidy from ministerial services for living in their own homes?

        Tim, that’s your job to dig dirt on Labour. It’s Micky’s job to dig dirt on National. Stop being lazy and expecting him to do your work.

        • Tim Ellis 19.1.2.1

          I’m not digging dirt jarbury. I’m pointing out that there really isn’t any useful comparison since labour never released this information, and there really isn’t a point of criticism because unless labour released the information, there isn’t any evidence that what Mr English is doing isn’t set in precedent.

          • mickysavage 19.1.2.1.1

            TE

            Diddums

            An equivalent situation occurred when in 2005 Labour used Parliamentary Services money for its pledge card. The nats used their funds for god knows what, probably iwi kiwi billboards and Crosby Textor advice but it was never disclosed or proved. This let them occupy the high ground and criticise Labour for use of public funds when it is almost certainly they used their budget for the same purpose.

            National went in boots and all. You should admire Labour’s restraint in not doing the same.

            • Tim Ellis 19.1.2.1.1.1

              I’m not admiring Labour’s restraint micky. I’m just pointing out why they’re showing restraint. They don’t want the Government to reveal Labour’s use of the same facilities.

  20. outofbed 20

    My” c” word ?

  21. outofbed 21

    I was talking to a couple of MAF people today at an airport
    next week they find out which six will get the chop.
    font line staff keeping our borders secure from nasties
    They were fuming about the H word from English and one of them used “”the”” “c’ word.

    Every time English opens his gob now to talk about the hard decisions the public service has to take to cut public spending I hope the H word is thrown right back in his face….. along with the c word , mine, not Mickey’s

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 21.1

      Hopefully he’ll do a better job than Roger Douglas when defending it.

  22. mike 22

    Was is labour so quiet ? Why is 7% phil not spitting into every possible camera lens on this one?

    most interesting….

    • burt 22.1

      mike

      Probably because English is not really doing anything different than a whole pile of the trough snuffling bunch we call MP’s.

      An audit of the who has an interest in which properties that are leased from various trusts in various parties might prove that English is not the only one who thinks its OK to work the rules to his personal advantage.

    • IrishBill 22.2

      Because he doesn’t need to.

  23. outofbed 23

    Jesus you” nutjobs” campaigned that Labour were corrupt liars blah blah
    And we need a “change”” honesty” accountability blah blah
    So saying Labour did/does it too is not a terribly good argument

    only saying

    • burt 23.1

      outofbed

      That argument was good enough to kill a standing court case for Labour and it was pathetic then. It is pathetic now as well. However it is relevant that English might not be alone doing this.

      I see however that Key has called for a review of the rules and the real test will be – will he make it so that we don’t get to find out how much MP’s get for accommodation or will he make it so that the current situation where MP’s get their housing paid for at the same time as having interests in trusts that lease property to parliamentary services are more transparent ?

      Time will tell – expediency or transparency – Key has a chance to act differently to Labour here and I wonder if he will take it.

  24. outofbed 24

    I hope he does
    That will endear him even more to Biilly the Trougher English

    • burt 24.1

      outofbed

      Restricting the reporting of accommodation expenses would be comparable to removing the need to include spending from the leaders fund in the election advertising expenses total. You know, change the rules so what was called as illegal (or simply wrong) is specifically declared legal ( or right ) because that is they way they have always done it and the law as written was simply a nuisance.

      So if Key takes that path we will of course be required to ‘move on’ because its in the best interests of the National party.

      Hell it’s funny watching Labour supports suddenly call for accountability after defending a total lack of it for 9 years.

      • andy 24.1.1

        Hell it’s funny watching National supporters suddenly go quiet about accountability after the deafening calls for it for it for 9 years.

        There burt, fixed it for you 🙂

        • burt 24.1.1.1

          andy

          I’m not going quiet about it – guess that’s because I’m not a National party supporter. so lets fix it this way;

          Hell it’s funny watching partisan hacks just swap camps with other partisan hacks every time we get a change of govt.

          It is sad though that through the tribal process change is rarely achieved because the govt de-jour has the numbers to tell the opposition to ‘move on’ and that is historically exactly what they do.

          • andy 24.1.1.1.1

            Hell it’s funny watching partisan hacks just swap camps with other partisan hacks every time we get a change of govt.

            Okay you win. Very true 🙂

      • The Voice of Reason 24.1.2

        Equally funny watching a system all parties in parliament have been quietly happy with for years under attack because of the greed and arrogance of a few smug, self centred, rich pricks in Act and their support party, National. In government for 9 months and already Worth, Lee, English and Sir Bludger are looking at their political obits. Keep up the good work, boys. Two years, 3 months and counting …

        • burt 24.1.2.1

          So what you are saying ‘TVoR is that since National came to power status quo has not been justification for no change….

          That’s a good thing is it not?

          • The Voice of Reason 24.1.2.1.1

            Too many negatives in there, Burt, hard to know what you’re asking.

            What I’m saying is that this government have cocked up so often because of arrogance. And by election time, I reckon they’ll be out of answers, out of talent and out of office.

            • burt 24.1.2.1.1.1

              But the bar will be lifted off the floor in the process so I’ve got no drama with that.

            • Tim Ellis 24.1.2.1.1.2

              TVOR, keep saying that and it might just come true.

              Not while Mr Goff is on 7% and Labour is making no traction in the polls though. I like your optimism. Possibly your statement might come true in eight and a half years, but not before then.

              I join ginger crush in predicting that National will win the next election.

        • gingercrush 24.1.2.2

          till National is re-elected into Government. There I said it for you. National will win in 2011.

          • The Voice of Reason 24.1.2.2.1

            Great, GC is moonlighting as Mystic Meg now. What I do know is that it does not take much improvement at the next General Election for the return of a Labour led government. That’s how MMP works. If Winston had got .8 more, for example, I’m not even sure that Key could have sown up a viable coalition at the last election.

            It’s time for you lot to stop gloating and get real. Actually, nah, keep gloating, it’ll just make the next result even more fun for us`lefties.

            • burt 24.1.2.2.1.1

              The Voice of Reason

              Like this one: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/roy-morgan/#comment-2238

              How wrong he was eh.

            • gingercrush 24.1.2.2.1.2

              No what you’re doing is what many on the left have been doing for months now without success. Before the election you lot were exactly the same. The polls will tighten. Oh they’re not accurate anyway.The activists will come out and post. Didn’t happen.

              Post-election. Its any day now New Zealanders will really dislike this government and wake up to how far-right it is. You lot dismiss the polls entirely. And you lot claim Labour doesn’t need any great improvement which is untrue. The landscape has changed.

              When you lot start getting real about things, perhaps I’ll take you seriously. When you lot to start to realise that for most New Zealanders, John Key isn’t bad I’ll listen. Until then you’re as barking mad as the far-right.

  25. outofbed 25

    Thanx for that link Burt
    Seems Like R0b had it sussed

    The Left could still lose the next election if the Right succeed in getting it framed as “sad tired Labour government, time for a change’ and can avoid discussing policy.

    I sadly agree with gingercrush I think the Nats will win in 2011
    However a quick Labour leadership change now might do the trick
    I guess though we should better just ask R0b

    • r0b 25.1

      Thanks for the vote of confidence OOB, but later on I got it wrong in one comment, saying I thought Labour would win it on the basis of better and more complete policy. But the world doesn’t work that way it seems.

      2011 is far far too far away to call. Too much water to pass under too many bridges. But I think if Key goes on letting his ministers get away with anything, with no accountability at all, then the corruption and sleaze is going to drag him down. He should be taking the high road and he isn’t. Dumb.

    • burt 25.2

      No argument rOb called it right on that one.

      Here here on a quick leadership change. There has got to be a hark back to core values or a paradigm shift in the Labour party to win the hearts and minds again. IMHO Captain wishy-washy isn’t the man for either of those roles.

      Edit: (disclosure) I have a very small vested interest via iPredict in Goff being rolled.

    • BLiP 25.3

      I agree. Phil was just the chap to manage the change over but there’s a need for a new leader – perception being reality in politics and, who was it, as someone suggested, the idea of a refreshed, new Labour could strike the right note.

      Could be quite fun if it is media-managed correctly. I wonder: would it be better to wait for the right moment and steal some National Inc thunder with a long, drawnout and bloody coup taking up weeks of media speculation (stage managed behind the scenes of course) or would it be better to just have a quick announcemnet and get on with it?

      Who’s gonna step up, is the other question for me. Trevor Mallard would be good but he’s tainted as “old guard” IMHO. I was quite keen on Charlie Chauvel for a while but having watched recently as he struggled to fit his ego through a door frame I’m not so sure any more. What about that ginger lad?

      Bloody hell, Burp – do you keep a record of all posts, that one you linked to is two years old. Not a silly idea, though.

    • burt 25.4

      I think you are spinning a little bit fast on this one rOb, Phill didn’t stand in Mt. Albert.

  26. r0b 26

    but there’s a need for a new leader

    If Phil had lost Mt Albert I would agree. But winning 63% to 17%? Phil is secure, and should rightly lead Labour into the next election.

    Don’t worry about preferred PM polls or low profile yet either – took Helen Clark a while to grow on people too!

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