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What a coincidence

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, August 6th, 2009 - 72 comments
Categories: bill english, corruption - Tags:

So there I was, just a walking down the street, and $47,000 just fell out of the sky in tax free readies, bam, right in to my lap! Like I was Bill English or something!

What – that never happened to you? Me neither. We have to work for our money. Actually I guess Bill had to work for the $47,000 extra top up to his salary that he planned to collect this year. There was a bit of paperwork. According to The Herald, rules had to be changed to make this special treatment possible. And there was the matter of the legal positioning:

In March this year the title was transferred to Mrs English. The home, now worth an estimated $1.2 million, is owned by a family trust.
Question to Mr Key: “When you said he changed the trust arrangement after the election, and that was the thing that qualified him for the Ministerial Services allowance, and yet he didn’t do it to qualify for the allowance, it was just a coincidence?”
Mr Key: “That’s my understanding.”

Did you ever have a $47,000 coincidence? Me neither!
— r0b

(PS: The Tui billboard thing has been done to death, but seriously, did Key manage to keep a straight face with that answer? If so I’d hate to play him at poker.)

72 comments on “What a coincidence”

  1. Ianmac 1

    Is it so that it is the PM who approves/authorises the entitlement to Ministers? If so then Mr Key was complicit in the change which allowed Mr English to make his claim?

    Catchpa: appear ????

  2. Pat 2

    What a coincidence! Mr Carter’s husband got the use of $40K of taxpayers money for first class travel last year alone, and he didn’t have to work for the money.

    • Anita 2.1


      You seem overexcited about Chris Carter’s civil union. Why?

      • BLiP 2.1.1

        Yes, noticed that myself. Most curious.

        • Pat

          Is “husband” the wrong term? “Partner” suggests they are not married, therefore seems to me to be derogatory.

          Ignoring my gay clients, my gay relatives, and my gay friends (yes, that’s right) then I must be homophobic.

          But play the gay card if you will. He still spent our money on his gold-plated holidays.

          • Lanthanide

            Actually yes, it is the wrong term. ‘Civil union partner’, as ‘husband’ is a term soley relegated to a marriage between a man and woman, in New Zealand. Not so in England. So much for being ‘equal’.

            I believe that the term “spouse” also only applies to marriages, which IMO is a bit silly as it is a good generic term otherwise. I’ve just done some googling but can’t find any NZ legislation that defines this one way or the other, but this is my recollection from when the civil unions act was passed.

            “But play the gay card if you will. He still spent our money on his gold-plated holidays.”

            I guess you better be complaining about Roger Douglas, too, who has said that his trip to England was almost entirely for private purposes. I suspect that Chris Carter’s trip probably had much more official work involved.

      • sausage fingers 2.1.2

        He must have done that on another thread, ’cause if you can read homophobia into Pat’s comment above then I think it’s you who have got the problem.

        • Anita

          Yeah, at least one other thread today.

          BTW I can’t find search, so I’m limited to hand searching for Pat’s other comments and TS is slow as today, cos I’m in a hurry I’ll just link to this one.

          I didn’t say homophobia btw, just that Pat seems overexcited by Carter’s civil union. Homophobia is only one possible reason, I’m sure there are others.

          • Anita

            Here too

            P.S. I want search back, this is aggravating and forces me to reread all manner of complete tripe.

          • lprent

            Search is off until the weekend. Search unleashed kept failing to complete a rebuild. I think that we have exceeded how many records it will process before failing in ajax.

            Started looking for a better solution, but time is tight.

            try google with

            site:thestandard.org.nz searchquery

            • Anita

              Yeah, I thought you must’ve finally given up on it.

              BTW have you noticed really slow page loads today? Not every time but every second or third load for me at the moment, I was thinking it might be just me tho.

              • lprent

                Nope there is a *lot* of traffic

                • BLiP

                  lprent: Blog bunny question coming up: . . . what do you mean?

                  “nope, there’s a lot of traffic”

                  • Ianmac

                    I think he meant to say “Hope there’s not a lot of traffic.”
                    Are you home yet Iprent?

                    • lprent

                      Work… Waiting for a process to run so I can test the results.

                      I really don’t notice ‘car’ traffic. I use the buses and play with my iphone reading the blog during the commute. I think that you’d have to be an idiot to use a car for commuting unless there wasn’t any decent public transport – ie National being their usual pack of dickheads.

                  • Lanthanide

                    He was replying to Anita’s question above, asking why the site seemed to be slow.

            • gingercrush

              Anita I’ve had that as well.

      • JustRight 2.1.3


        If Chris Carter was a woman, and Pat had said her husband had $40K of travel last year, would you have said “you seem very interested in ‘her’ marriage” ? I doubt you would have. Accusing Pat of homophobia is trying to distract from the point.

        Look at the issue – Labour MP’s milking it (as well)

        • Izzy

          “Mr and Mr Carter” from Pat (see Anita’s 2nd link) would be a bit odd if Chris was a woman.

  3. roger nome 3

    Pat – something that may be of interest to you:

    Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?

    The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992 ). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.


  4. gingercrush 4

    Wow you’re so clever rogernome. Exactly what is homophobic about what Pat said?

    • roger nome 4.1

      First off ginger, it wasn’t that clever, i merely quoted an abstract that anyone could find using google scholar. Pat seemed to get exited by the fact that chriss carter is shacked up with a dude. I thought that info might help him to understand why. That’s all.

  5. roger nome 5

    Pat – your over-enthusiasm was interesting.

    • sausage fingers 5.1

      Over-enthusiasm? He mentioned that Carter has a husband. Which he was kind of compelled to do if he was going to make the point about the cost of that person’s travel.

      • roger nome 5.1.1

        SF – the exclamation mark was the give away. btw i have a gay guy mate who likes guys with “sausage fingers” – he says it all the time. Are you crusing on the standard, you norty boy!

        • sausage fingers

          You got homophobia from punctuation! (Arrgh, I mean “.”)

          My sausage fingers aren’t the only characteristic that makes me attractive to gay men.

          I am also a good listener.

    • jagilby 5.2

      The last couple of days have only served to illustrate that when the left’s argument is failing then the last port of call is to pick at semantics and slander, slander, slander.

  6. wtf? Is Sir Double Dipton gay? Is that why he flats with his ‘wife’?
    well that explains that.

  7. Ianmac 7

    Gosh. I wonder if anyone has thought of making a connection with the cooincidence of Bills change of Trust and Johns authorising the advantage of it?

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    I don’t think that Pat is necessarily being homophobic, but I don’t really see his point. If it’s supposed to be a ‘coincidence’, is he suggesting that the civil union is a jack up to get the travel?

    That would be a dumb enough thing to say even without any homophobia.

    I think it’s a case of “hey look it’s the goodyear blimp, which coincidentally reminds me that this orange is technically an apple”.

    That 47k that serendipity had falling into the mortgage payments on the house English’s wife’s trust owns though, I reckon there are probably a few folks about that used to earn roughly that in a year, but don’t now because they lost their job due to line by line reviews etc.

    Someone else lost their job so that the crown could pay for Sir Roger’s couple of weeks overseas.

    But they’re entitled to their holidays, and English was entitled to rearrange his affairs. The treasury and the flinty eyed ACT prophet of public frugality must keep their razor on the important things eh.

  9. mike 9

    Typical lefties diverting the issue with crys of homophobia and smear.

    I don’t care about Chris Carters ‘friend’ – I just want to know why he won’t front up and explain his extremely lavish expences. Poor ginga hughs is left to defend the indefensible.
    Just a tip though Daza – putting lots of product in it and spiking it up at the back does’nt make it not red…

  10. mike 10

    Did you guys complain to TVNZ about gay bashing when they accused Chris Carter of using the back door in Parliment tonight??

    • vto 10.1

      I dont know – is that funny or not funny?

    • felix 10.2

      Did you guys complain to TVNZ about gay bashing when they accused Chris Carter of using the back door in Parliment tonight??

      Ah, no. But that’s probably because it didn’t happen.

      Even if it had, how would it be “gay bashing”? Wouldn’t it just be common garden-variety smut?

      • mike 10.2.1

        It did happen – off course they were just referring to him running scared of the media but hey – you guys seem to take offence at anything that diverts from the actual issue..

        • Pascal's bookie

          “Typical lefties diverting the issue…”

          “you guys seem to take offence at anything that diverts from the actual issue”

          So which is it Mike? Personally I’m closer to the second quote, but offended isn’t the right word.

          When Pat, in the very first comment on the thread, diverted form the issue, I thought;

          “Boy, that’s obvious, has Pat been reading Tim”

        • felix

          That’s weird, mike. After I read your comment I watched the 6pm news and listened closely for the words you mentioned. I didn’t hear them.

          So I’m thinking either they recorded 2 bulletins and beamed one to your house and posted the other one to the website,


          you’ve been hitting the pipe a bit hard with Tim,


          you’re just making up shit as usual.

          Hey, I think I’ve figured it out.

          • mike

            Felix, it happened. My wife even laughed and she’s bored shitless with politics.

            Go back and watch it again and pay more attention there’s a good lad

            • felix

              Just watched it again and you’re dreaming. God the news is boring, no wonder I don’t bother watching it.

              You sure it was tvnz?

        • vto

          are a few of you the same person?

        • Armchair Critic

          Isn’t the issue that the finance minister doesn’t have the ethical sense to know that claiming back your rent for a house owned by a trust you have an interest in is wrong? Even my ACT voting accountant knows this.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Even little fishes in the sea know it, but he’s entitled, (if you squint), which makes it compulsory.

  11. toad 11

    In the tradition of Sir Roger Douglas, there are for Sir Double Dipton things to do in Dipton when you’re dead.

  12. Galeandra 12

    For what it’s worth, I too pick up the homophobic connotations from Pat’s comments on two threads today.
    I think the idea of a gay Minister and partner seems to him to be even more profligate than a’standard’ couple abroad, and by inference an even shadier deed to blackeye the Opposition with.

    His apologia line was awful- it sounded like a sixties replay – you know, one of my best friends is Maori…..

  13. Tim Ellis 13

    Goodness me, and to think a lot of the commenters on here regularly accuse me of distraction.

    Pat raised the issue of Mr Carter’s partner/husband/whatever receiving a large amount of taxpayer’s money for holidaying. Suddenly everybody ignores the substance and focuses on the potential homophobia. If that isn’t obvious distraction, I don’t know what is.

    In light of Mr Carter’s spending, r0b’s post seems very vacant to me.

    • The Voice of Reason 13.1

      Nope, it’s actual homophobia. There were comments on at least two threads that were clearly intentionally offensive and clearly based on the sexuality of the MP and his partner. Shame the search engine ain’t up, it’d be easier to point them out, but if you’ve got the time, Tim, have a troll back through the Double Dipton related posts and you’ll find them.

    • Pascal's bookie 13.2

      Mr Carter’s spending is a distraction Tim, unless you are suggesting that his civil union is a fiction entered into to get the allowance? Is that what you are saying Tim?


      Then how is that anything but a distraction from the point of r0b’s post, which is about the claim that English’s arrangement of his affairs only enriched him by ‘coincidence’.

  14. Pat 14

    Yes I have been picking on Carter in other threads. He is Labours biggest travel spender. I believe this is because he takes his partner/spouse with him on most trips, and mostly first class, at the Taxpayers expense. And in doing so, he is effectively doubling the cost of each trip.

    And I suspect his spouse/partner accompanies him more often than other MPs spouses/partners. The stammering Hughes admits he doesn’t know how many times Carter was accompanied. The cloak of silence has been drawn over the issue by Labour because they know it looks ugly.

    Similarly, Roger Douglas travel expenses has given us a mere glimpse into the 90% travel reimbursement for long serving MPs. How much has the taxpayer spent on Field this year? How about Cullen, Hunt, Bolger etc etc? I think we would recoil in horror if the true cost was known.

    It seems to me that this should be stopped forthwith, together with first class travel for MP’s partners.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      So if Hughes doesn’t know, why do you think your guess is worth anything? And in any case, how is this in any way similar to English’s coincidence?

      • Pat 14.1.1

        If there was nothing to be embarrassed about, Hughes would know.

        At worst, English might have overspent $20K? $24K?

        If Carter’s spouse accompanied him on most overseas trips it would have cost taxpayers at least another $40K.

        You lot are fixated on one MP over one particular expense. I understand that – you want Bill sacked.

        In your excitement don’t miss the opporuntity to clean up the whole 120 of them.

        • Pascal's bookie

          I’m more than happy to see the system sorted, but English seems to have been abusing the system in a way no other MP was.

          That’s why he gets singled out.

          If you have any other MP’s you can point to pulling his trick, or anything like it, please share some details.

          I’ve asked before but no tories can help me. It’s almost like English was doing something no one else was.

          Don’t let a general reform hide the particulars of English’s rort.

      • gingercrush 14.1.2

        OH PB you are an ass. You justify anything that is done by Labour yet claim that you voted the Greens. You were providing the distraction simply because DPF called out how stupid Labour was over the Taito Philip Field story. The fact you’re all quite willing to justify Chris Carter’s speaks volumes about what you lot think.

        As for the idiots here saying Pat is homophobic. Bullshit. I wasn’t offended. Chris Carter is a thieving ass who just happens to take his partner around everywhere with no real justification. The fact he has been so silent speaks volumes about his guilt. But you lot go on repeating how Pat is homophobic. Can’t disagree with Maori, you’re racist. Don’t agree with someone that is gay and you’re homophobic. You lot justify anything. Makes me sick.

        • Lanthanide

          “I wasn’t offended.”

          Why does you being offended, or not, determine whether something is homophobic?

        • Pascal's bookie

          Where am I justifying Labour Ginger? Or Carter?

          I am merely pointing out there are qualitative differences between Carter’s spending and English’s.

          English changed his affairs re the trust, and pretended to be living in southland so that a bunch of money would fall on his mortgage.

          That is nothing like Carter’s spending. So to bring up Carter’s spending as if it is a “labour did it too’ scenario is horseshit.

          I am attacking that argument, not defending Labour or Carter. Geddit? So unless you or Pat, can say why these scenarios are similar in respect of Englishs’s shenanagins, I’ll ask you to pull your head in.

          But you can’t say why they are similar, because they are not, and you are only bringing up Carter’s expenses to avoid the painful truth about English. That he has seen line by line reviews put people out of their jobs to save the crown some money at the same time that he has helped himself to 47K.

          • gingercrush

            I won’t defend Bill English but ultimately I don’t care. He was my electorate MP for years when I lived in Southland and both my parents voted him repeatedly as their electorate MP. I was one of the 21% that voted National in 2002 (my first election I cried). He’s a good MP and a good politician. Sure he’s fucked up but he won’t be going anywhere. Too big a MP to let him fall. Anyway I’m a partisan hack. I don’t like when the party I support does dodgy/unethical things. But I’ll vote for them anyway. Beats voting for the parasitic party that is Labour.

            The problem with the left and what makes them different from the right is that they can’t bear themselves to find any fault in Labour or other left parties. Labour of course according to them never does anything that is dodgy, illegal, unethical, bullying etc etc.

  15. lprent 15

    Blip: during the weekdays there are usually a couple of processes delivering content at the server at any one time. For most of this week there have been more like 6 plus.

    Then occassionally we get (umm) blips of connections from badly behaved searchbots, and it blows out to 15 or so.Then new connections coming in take a long time to connect.

    Anyway, we’ve increased the amount of data moved this week quite a lot, and I’ve had to tweak the system a bit to stop it running out of memory. This weekend I’ll look at getting more memory at the server so I can stop rationing it

  16. lukas 16

    What I find interesting is why Chris Carter has got away with lying. He told James Coleman in an interview for RadioLive that he paid for his trip to China out of his own pocket, yet he has claimed the trip as a travel expense…tut tut


  17. Pat 17

    PB – where you get on your high horse on this thread is demanding that my comments and others about Carters are off topic. Your point is that the post is about English’s expense rort, not Carter’s expense rort.

    That is a dis-ingenuous diversion, because you know full well there ain’t gonna be a post about Carter or any other Labour MP’s expenses rolling along anytime soon.

    In my view, what English has done is not confined to it’s own bubble. It is part of far far wider endemic prolifigate rort of taxpayers money, by pretty much all past and present MP’s. And you can bet your Aunt Fanny that Labour MPs, towards the end of a 9 year stint in power, would have been bathing at the deep end of the trough.

    How many posts on Red Alert this week about MP expenses?

    How many questions from Labour this week about it at Question Time?

    How many times this week has Goff fronted about the issue?

    If Team Red have nothing to hide, they would be all over this. The truth is they want the issue to go away just as much as Team Blue and the other benchwarmers, because they are all up to their necks in it.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      Pat, In saying that English’s rort is part and parcel of a wider culture, you ignore the aspects of it that make it (apparently) unique.

      Where there were similar situations in the past the ministers got stood down, and paid the money back.So his case is not typical. It is atypical. Treating it the same as others would minimise that fact.

    • lprent 17.2

      So far I haven’t seen anything that says that there is a problem with Chris Carters travel. It appears to all have been done in conformance with the usual travel required by a minister. That’s why I wouldn’t write a post on it.

      Bill English is a different matter. He is clearly living permanently in Wellington, but claims as if he was an out of town MP I(and has done so for over a decade). If nothing else that brings MP’s expense claims into disrepute. Moreover, it looks like earlier this year he changed his circumstances to dig his nose deeper into the expenses trough. This one was at the same time as he was slashing expenses across the public services.

      I’d write a post about the general topic of MP’s expenses, but that can probably wait until this furore dies down and we can have some rational debate. Now that the Greens have shaken the numbers free, it will be interesting to have a close look at them.

      Why would MP’s comment about their own situation? That is something that the public should do. Otherwise it is like putting a fox in charge of the henhouse.

      • Swampy 17.2.1

        Bill English’s situation is a pretty obvious one. He owns a house in Dipton, which he pays the upkeep on, but because he is a cabinet minister he lives in Wellington for part of the week and therefore has to have a residence in the capital as well for practical reasons. An accommodation allowance to pay for the cost of that is quite reasonable and since it is now designated a ministerial residence, even more reasonable.

        It is quite a bit different from Phillida Bunkle renting out a primary residence in Waikanae, which is within such distance of Wellington that she could commute every day, to live in a ministerial residence in the central city, by also claiming that her primary place of residence was in Waikanae when she did not reside there at all.

        • Pascal's bookie

          English has lived in Wellington since at least the mid nineties when his family moved up here. In what sense does he live in Dipton? Do have any back up for your claim that he spends a couple of nights a week there? A day a month? Any time at all?

          Even when down south for electorate duties, he doesn’t stay at the house in Dipton, it’s too much of a commute to the population centers, he stays in motels.

  18. Swampy 18

    The Herald says nothing of the sort. It says Internal Affairs designated the house an official ministerial residence, not because of the rule change.

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