While Andrew Little was sucking up to the Indian community along with John Key last night, Winston Peters was stealing Labour’s thunder.
Plans for a $100 million plus new office block to house MPs and their staff is threatening to turn into an election-year stoush.
Parliament’s Speaker David Carter says Cabinet has approved in principle a multi-story office block to rehouse MPs and staff once the lease on Parliament’s Lambton Quay Bowen House office block expires.
The Bowen House lease is costing $6 million a year and Carter says it’s more cost effective to build new premises.
It was also an issue of sovereignty, because most Kiwis would be surprised to learn MPs were housed in a building owned by an overseas landlord, Carter said.
NZ First MP Ron Mark said a new office block was a low priority.
“When we have well over 40,000 New Zealanders homeless and young Kiwis struggling to buy a new home, this is not the time for wasteful expenditure pandering to the comfort of MPs and their staff.”‘
Hard to argue with that, and especially hard to argue with it when the extent of Wellington’s earthquake damage is revealed properly. A $100 million would go a hell of a lot further in Palmerston North.
The plan involves the construction of a five-storey, 8500 square metre building for MPs on the carpark behind Parliament House.
There will be an air-bridge linking the new building to Parliament House.
The existing Press Gallery building, which is earthquake prone, will be demolished and rebuilt with two extra storeys added to it to house ministers.
Carter says the new premises will be built using sustainable materials and building methods.
Who cares, only government departments and wombles give a flying turd about sustainable materials and building methods. What does that even mean? After we are done with this building we can grow another one from cuttings?
He refused to say how much it would cost but conceded it would likely be more than $100 million.
A previous attempt in the 1990s to build MPs new accommodation foundered after it got stuck with a NZ First label as the ‘Parliamentary Palace’.
That plan, costing $94 million, was later replaced by another proposal – also scuppered – to put the Beehive on wheels and move it to a park across the road so Parliament House could be extended.
Prime Minister John Key said NZ First was being politically opportunistic and other parties supported the latest plan.
Carter said the status quo, with ministers, MPs and staff spread across various buildings, was expensive and posed security risks.
He believed the public would see the merit of having the Crown own Parliament, rather than overseas interests.
“Most New Zealanders would expect their Parliament to be Crown owned.”
Watch Winston kick the shit out of John Key mercilessly with the same title.