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.