Why don’t they just stop ripping us off?

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, August 5th, 2009 - 26 comments
Categories: bill english, corruption, john key - Tags:

Key admits his ministers are rorting the system – exploiting the allowance not for need but just because it gives them a chance for a bit of free cash:
“In some instances you’ve got ministers moving out of homes where they might otherwise stay there but the rules don’t really encourage that”
So, they’re moving houses simply to take advantage of the system for their personal enrichment.
Yet Key is defending this. Key’s line on this is people on quarter of a million dollar salaries who live in Wellington need another $50K a year otherwise their marriages will break up. It would be laughable if it weren’t so disgraceful. In a similar vein, Key and English have made the ludicrous argument that English’s family would have to go to live in Dipton if he weren’t creaming $50K a year in this allowance. What a load of rubbish. They would stay in Wellington. It’s where they live, where his wife works, where his kids have spent most of their lives.
Now, the Nats are trying to stonewall – ‘let’s wait for the report’. They’re talking about rule changes, including making them offset any rental income from other Wellington property against their allowance claims. That won’t do any good. Given the mindset that these ministers are displaying, which Key seems to have no trouble with. They’ll just stop renting the flats out. There’s something insidious in saying the solution is rule changes. It admits that these ministers are behaving wrongly but doesn’t insist they modify their behaviour voluntarily.
Here’s an idea. Why don’t they just stop ripping us off instead?Why doesn’t Key demand it?
We shouldn’t have to design the rules against every scheme avaricious ministers can imagine. We should have politicians who won’t exploit the loopholes just because they can. We deserve politicians who will obey the spirit of the rules, and have more concern for public service than their bank accounts.
The entitlement mindset that sees ministers exploiting our trust and generosity needs to go. Key should be driving it out.

26 comments on “Why don’t they just stop ripping us off?”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    We shouldn’t have to design the rules against every scheme avaricious ministers can imagine. We should have politicians who won’t exploit the loopholes just because they can. We deserve politicians who will obey the spirit of the rules, and have more concern for public service than their bank accounts.

    Goodness me Marty. Anybody would think, given you didn’t mention it, that Mr Goff wasn’t guilty of doing exactly the same thing.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      No Tim. Goff wasn’t living in his own family home and getting the taxpayer to pay him $47,000 a year for it.

      • Tim Ellis 1.1.1

        No he wasn’t, bright red. Instead he was renting out his own place in Wellington and having the taxpayer pay for him to live in a ministerial home, and is now telling an apparent fib that the reason he doesn’t live in his apartment is a) that it’s tenanted and b) that he’s planning to sell it. I’m sorry but neither excuse washes after he’s been collecting rent on it for three years while getting taxpayer accommodation in Wellington.

        Let’s apply the same standard to both Labour MPs and Ministers as you are calling for National.

        • Bright Red

          The issue is ministers who move specifically to take advantage of an opportunity to rort the system, which Key admits his ministers have been doing, and ones like Bludger Bill who claim money for living where they would live anyway.

          Nothing wrong with owning a property and renting it (well, not within the context of this debate – we can argue about the morality of property ownership another time 🙂 )

  2. Rascally Rabbit 2

    Now-now rules are made to be broken just ask TPF….

    You are right though Key should be driving it out – the Westminster parlimentary system is the last of that peculiarly British phenomenon – an exclusive club – where members get all sorts of benefits due to secret handshakes and the like that us Johnny Nosebleeds and Sally Sweatsocks can only dream of…

    Interesting that it would take a Tory govt. to fix it up though dunt ya think?! Both here and in the UK!

    I say Guy Fawkes had the right idea after all….

  3. randal 3

    no good being in politics if you cant have the masses foaming at the mouth about obvious injustice.
    and more to the point unable to do anything about it.
    nice work if you can get it.

  4. Ha – the risk here is that Key might just be seen to clean up this mess so the whole thing could boomerang on Labour. Having said that, the hole that English is in keeps on getting bigger. Even if it is lawful, it’s manifestly hypocritical given his demands on everyone else.

  5. darryl 5

    The disgusting thing is that Labour and the Greens aren’t saying shit.

  6. graham 6

    the reason why greens and labour are saying nothing is both are as guilty as national and this blog knows it.If the rules change big deal so bill will sell his house and move into vogel house other mps like phill goff will sell their flats etc and buy property in chch or auckland .The end result will be no change to how much this costs the taxpayer.john key is going to be the white knight and set new rules clean up wellington and be loved by more of new zealand .dam!! another own goal by the standed. areyou sure that you arent still being run by the ninth floor?

    • Bright Red 6.1

      I think that’s why the post calls on ministers to behave themselves rather than merely changing the rules

  7. ben 7

    Whale Oil is calling for Bill English to go.

    Which makes him a bastion of principle compared with the defend-Labour-at-all-costs tosh the Standard puts out.

    Do you see the difference boys? You see its not about who’s wearing the red tie or the blue tie. Its about an expectation for whoever is in government to do the right thing.

    Whale Oil is showing you up.

    [lprent: Nice to see some principles, yes. Now if he would just turn his brain on and get accurate with his statements I might even value his opinions. As it is, he is usually so inaccurate in his data, that you have to view all of his statements of “principle” with a barge pole.

    Roughly translated, he makes crap up, treats it as fact, and given enough time believes it it truth. I don’t value his opinions because he understands bugger all. ]

  8. ben 8

    [dup removed.]

  9. andy 9

    Deputy Prime Mininster Bill English has decided to pay back part of his ministerial housing allowance to Ministerial Services, saying that as Finance Minister he had to lead by example.


  10. BLiP 10

    I see that Blinglish is going to pay back some of the money he’s ripped off. He’s spinning it as a response to a “perception” he’s been ripping us all off.

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      It’s a good start. Now we just need the ‘review’ to say that even the basic amount he has been creaming is unjustified, and have him pay that back too.

  11. John Dalley 11

    I would at least expect him English to offer his resignation to John Key for the unprincipled way he has abused the system.
    Just because there may be loop holes in a system doesn’t make it right that you drive the truck trough collecting taxpayers money as you go.
    Resign Bill English you are an unprincipled crook.

  12. CuriO 12

    Actually what English has done is probably better then others with taking a ministerial home and renting out their other property, like the other National Ministers and Helen Clark and Phil Goff. One plus is he is living in his own property and not taking the other option where he would actually be making a lot more money. I don’t know maybe I’m generous, but I don’t think the salaries of senior MP’s is very high, I’d like to think the PM and the Deputy PM are remunerated well for what they do. It would be nice to see what Labour was up to in their 9 years, I don’t blame Labour if there were similar events occuring. Worthy people deserve an accom supp, like Cullen and Mallard, and I think English is a worthy MP too. I don’t know, is it wrong for Bill to say his home is in Dipton? The rationale for living in Wellington in the first place still holds up, he moved to Wellington presumably for why he said he did, so he would see his family now and then. If he has to be in Wellington for 40 weeks of the year then he has to be in Wellington 40 weeks of the year.Necessity and worthwhile representation demand he resides in Wellington, the same for a lot of MPs both sides of the house. The hick from Dipton would probably like to be on his Ranch but I personally think it’s unreasonable to expect him to be in Dipton now. Its funny how National always has to take the rap, Labour had the benefits of the Electoral Finance Act, National has to clean it up. Labour Ministers had 9 years of blissful cover of their expenses, and now National Ministers have to take the rap for the collective guilt of politicians. Labour has the benign International Economy and national gets the recession. Its priceless

  13. Luke H 13

    We shouldn’t have to design the rules against every scheme avaricious ministers can imagine. We should have politicians who won’t exploit the loopholes just because they can. We deserve politicians who will obey the spirit of the rules, and have more concern for public service than their bank accounts.

    Well, you’re absolutely right. But of course this rules out Labour and Green MPs too.

    Therefore, the only logical alternative is the Libertarianz, who would reduce Parliamentary salaries to $0, while vastly reducing the amount of power that politicans have available to abuse.

    • BLiP 13.1

      So only rich people can represent my views in government. No thanks.

      • Luke H 13.1.1

        It’s interesting that you leap to that conclusion, BLiP.

        Thank outside the box: What about each party (the Greens, say) doing a whip-around and collectively helping pay the expenses, and a fair wage, to their MPs? Then the MPs would be really, actually accountable.

      • felix 13.1.2

        That’s a good idea Luke.

        Another one would be to have corporate MPs, funded entirely by whatever corporation or lobby group they represent.

        That would be awesome. Gee Mr. BLiP, don’t be so negative.

        • Luke H

          That’s an interesting idea felix, but under a libertarian system, there wouldn’t be very much money to lobby for. So a quick cost/benefit analysis would generally scuttle a corporation’s evil plans in this sphere.

  14. JD 14

    I was wondering the same thing when the media broke the story that state owned power companies under the labour govnt had been manipulating power prices to rip off consumers of billions of dollars.

    Were there any posts here on the matter?

  15. It seems Chris Carter has been a naughty boy also.

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