What goes around

Written By: - Date published: 10:17 am, November 11th, 2008 - 29 comments
Categories: john key - Tags:

Well, after years of National and its proxies beating up stupid, pointless stories about Labour MPs spending taxpayers’ money on ‘perks’ like driving around the country doing their jobs it looks like it’s finally coming back to bite them.

This morning the Dominion Post reports on its front page that John Key spent $217,615 on chaffeur-driven limos last year, more than any other MP.

Now I don’t begrudge MPs travelling in comfort, they do long hours and often need to work while on the road.

But given the amount of noise National and its proxies have made over Labour MPs’ expenses in recent years (if this had been Helen a few weeks ago Farrar would have been all over it) they’re going to have a hard time explaining their silence now.

29 comments on “What goes around”

  1. bill brown 1

    Looks like we need means testing for access to ministerial perks.

    Net worth > $40 million = use your own car

  2. slightlyrighty 2

    Well Tane, I guess that’s what you get when a politician travels the country in election year actually listening to the electorate.

    By the way, Helen Clark also spent over 200k.

  3. Chess Player 3

    Some balance please, people.

    If the guy is donating his $400k salary to charity, I personally am quite happy to have some of my taxes pay for his travel costs.

    It’s only fair….

  4. Vanilla Eis 4

    Chess Player: Read the article. John is donating *some* of his salary to charity, and claiming the tax rebate on it.

    edit: Oh, and when Winston wanted to donate $158k of taxpayer money to charity, what was your opinion?

  5. IrishBill 5

    You idiots. Tane has clearly said he has no problem with the spend. Neither do I. The issue is with the hypocrisy of the right and its cheerleaders who would have attacked this spend it it had been Helen as PM.

  6. milo 6

    Sounds a bit hypothetical about what would or wouldn’t have been attacked.

  7. IrishBill 7

    Don’t be disingenuous, milo.

  8. Chess Player 8

    Vanilla Eis,

    No opinion on Winston, one shouldn’t speak ill of ‘the dead’.

  9. Lampie 9

    Do I sense that the media vultures (Granny and Co.) have moved quickly onto a fresh carcass?

  10. Haha what was the word someone made up the other day?

    Time for a new series: “Farracical at The Standard”

  11. gomango 11

    I don’t believe it would be attacked in the same way as Judith Tizards domestic travel (she didnt produce anything or have a proper role within government but was a notorious travel logger.) She should have been attacked by both sides of the debate. I don’t believe anyone would for instance attack Helen if she racked up 200 + in travel. It goes with the role as leader of a party. If (say) Tau Henare or (say) Maurice Williamson have 200k in travel expenses AND the right bloogers don’t take that to task, then the hypocracy argument is valid.

    The other thing to report with respect to Key is the baubles he didn’t take –
    – no residence in Wellington which he was entitled to at our cost
    – no self drive car
    – no wife on the electorate payroll

    Clearly a reasonable saving there. No gaming like others who have a house up Otaki way because then they can claim out of wellington allowances.

    More interesting today is the Vela donations, timed nicely to not need declaring until after the election. I don’t know where to look but I’d like to see what other parties are declaring large business interest donations ex post the election. Anything from National/Act/MP/Greens?

  12. Tim Ellis 12

    I think that is a straw man, IB and Tane. I voted for the right and I’ve never had a problem with the PM’s travel costs.

    I would expect the leader of the opposition to have the highest costs: he doesn’t have to spend as much time in Wellington, without cabinet responsibility, and should be up and down the country talking to people. I very much doubt the PM’s costs include her DPS security detail, which would probably increase her travel costs by a factor of three or four over the leader of the opposition’s. Again I don’t begrudge the PM having security or the cost associated with it.

    I would also expect the education minister to have a high travel cost, as much of that job would be visiting schools in far-flung areas.

    As for the self-drive car, I don’t think it’s realistic for the PM or the Leader of the Opposition to have one or use one, for security reasons. Good on John Key for not taking one up.

  13. djp 13

    damn, thats alot of money.

    Cant they just hire a guy with a full time job of driving people around? Surely that salary would only cost about 50K… or are other costs included here?

  14. gomango 14


    Winston wasn’t donating money to charity. He was stealing money from the taxpayer.

    At least Labour, Maori Party etc had the integrity to grit their teeth and pay it back to ministerial services.

    You can’t donate other peoples money.

  15. Tane 15

    djp, petrol I guess, possibly accomodation if the driver’s out of town. Not sure if they count depreciation on the car. Good question.

  16. Tim Ellis 16

    djp, petrol I guess, possibly accomodation if the driver’s out of town. Not sure if they count depreciation on the car. Good question.

    I suspect they would take the total cost of the VIP car service, divide it by the number of hours used or kilometres travelled, and apportion it to each user. So the cost is not likely to be a marginal cost by each user, but the total capital and operating cost of the service per user.

  17. Righties argument:

    If its John Key its ok and not hypocrisy. If its Helen Clark/any Labour Party member its waste/extravagance/buerocratic madness/baubles of office blah blah blah.

  18. gobsmacked 18

    The headline – and spin – suggested Key would donate his Prime Minister’s salary to charity.


    I couldn’t give a toss how much he donates – I just want him to do the job. But if you’re going to peddle this kind of story to the press, you’d better back it up.

  19. gingercrush 19

    I don’t see the problem. I really don’t sorry. Neither would I if it was Helen Clark. Likewise Phil Goff seeing he’ll be leader of the opposition should be able to spend just as much.

    The real thing to look at further is what the spending of Ministers in. I don’t agree these people should be spending up large.

  20. deemac 20

    ginger, you miss the point, which was the hypocrisy of the right who criticised Labour MPs but not Nat ones for doing exactly the same thing.

  21. gingercrush 21

    Yes well like I said. If Cabinet Ministers spend excessively then they should be berated. I never understood attacks on the Prime Minister and her expenses. Likewise Goff should feel free to spend what is necessary. Its the people that are not Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Opposition Leader that should watch their spending.

    I only arrived to blogs a week before this election. So I have no idea what the blogs were talking about before then. My own opinion so far is that the left blogs seem to be somewhat irrational. While the right blogs seem to have high proportions of Act supporters which I find rather scary.

  22. the sprout 22

    nearly a quarter of a million dollars on glorified taxis in one year.

  23. Ari 23

    But remember folks, he’s gonna cut government spending and bureaucracy! 😉

  24. Chris G 24

    Didn’t they beat up the use of the beamers anyway and lament there very purchase?

    Johnny Friendly aye.

  25. Tim Ellis 25

    The headline – and spin – suggested Key would donate his Prime Minister’s salary to charity.

    Surprise surprise, GS, John Key does not write the headlines. The story is about John Key vowing that he will donate a “good part” of his PM’s salary to charity, just as he has donated a good part of his MP’s salary to charity since being elected.

  26. gobsmacked 26

    Yeah, the story was the result of fearless investigative journalism.

    Get real. Key’s PR people wanted a puff-piece, and the cheerleaders were happy to oblige.

  27. Tim Ellis 27

    gobsmacked, you are deliberately not reporting what your own link says. The link says John Key will donate part of his salary, not all of it.

  28. bill brown 28

    Tim, hasn’t your contract run out yet? You might want to check.

  29. Lampie 29

    ACT Party leader Rodney Hide praised Key.

    “Good on him,” Hide said. “New Zealanders are generous people … and John Key is a good example of that.”

    We will see on Sunday Rodney

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