Bit of an asymmetric war here. Who do you think was in the right?
Bit of an asymmetric war here. Who do you think was in the right?
The practice of downgrading airline tickets to take another passenger along – as used by a trio of MPs on a trip to Europe – is off the table for public servants.
Three MPs travelling with Parliament Speaker David Carter’s delegation in Europe are believed to have traded their single business class flight tickets for two economy class tickets, allowing them to take spouses along on the trip.
So here is the circular argument:
Hey, you’re spending too much of our tax money!
– yes, nearly $100,000 of the total $138,000 cost is for business fares
– no, we need to be fresh when we get off the plane. this is justified in this case
But you allowed the MPs to travel economy and spread the cost so they could take their wife, husband, spouse, significant other or favourite farm animal. So now they won’t arrive fresh?
The Taxpayers’ Union has said it raises questions over whether the trip is work or a junket.
The State Services Commission (SSC) says the practice would not be acceptable in the public service.
Sandi Beatie, the deputy commissioner, said the commission’s expectation was that when public servants had to travel, only their individual travel should be covered. The only exclusion was that the cost of relocating family was covered if a public servant was moving.
“Any ‘downgrading’ of flights in the manner you mention by public servants would not be appropriate. SSC has no record of ‘downgrading flights’ being considered acceptable or any directive on the issue,” Beatie said.
The commission’s standards on integrity and conduct stated that officials “use our organisation’s resources carefully and only for intended purposes”.
By definition, if an MP can travel to do business on economy fares, then we should send them with economy fares.
Or, they have to admit that it’s really just a joyride at the taxpayer’s expense.
One, or the other. Pick.
– Hamish Rutherford, Stuff
It’s hard to fundraise when you spend all your time and money on your mates Jim, Jack and Johnnie. That’s something Winston Peters must know all too well.
So when you’re tits at fundraising and your party faithful couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery, it’s little time before schemes are hatched to run a campaign on the cheap on the taxpayer.
It looks as though the wily old fox has been forced to show his hand after a bit of sniffing about by the Taxpayers Union. Winston’s baggage boy, Api Dawson, has been based up in Northland for some time, but only on Wednesday did you and I taxpayer, stop paying for him.
“NZ First leader Winston Peters has rejected claims a member of his Northland campaign team is being funded by the taxpayer.
Questions were raised by the Taxpayers’ Union that parliamentary staffer Api Dawson was carrying out campaign work on Peters’ “Force for the North” bus tour of Northland.
Peters is standing in the Northland by-election – a seat left vacant by the sudden resignation of former National MP Mike Sabin, due to personal reasons.
Peters has confirmed Dawson is managing his campaign, but has taken annual leave from his Parliamentary Service role to do so. After questioning yesterday, Peters confirmed Dawson’s leave kicked in from midday on Wednesday. If Dawson was carrying out any campaign functions in Northland before that date, the party would have breached rules that stipulate Parliamentary Service staff should not engage in party campaigning, membership or fund raising activities.
A photo of Dawson and NZ First MP Pita Paraone standing outside Peters’ campaign bus was posted to Paraone’s page, the Taxpayers’ Union said. A search late yesterday appeared to suggest the picture had been removed. It is not clear when it was originally posted. Read more »
MPs were reminded that today was about ceremony. John Key got criticised for cracking a joke at the expense of the Labour Party, but somehow (not surprisingly), Russel Norman once again failed to observe the occasion and got stuck in
David Carter was re-elected Speaker in a vote prompted by the fact returning NZ First MP Ron Mark was put forward by his Leader Winston Peters.
Mr Mark later indicated his nomination came as something of a surprise.
Mr Carter’s re-election was welcomed by Prime Minister John Key but Acting Labour Leader David Parker and Greens Co-leader Russel Norman had some requests for him.
“There will be contentious moments in this House”, Mr Parker said in his address to Mr Carter.
“The business of Opposition and the business of Government are both very important roles we are reliant on you giving us a fair go.” Read more »
It appears that Winston Peters is running NZ First out of their parliamentary office.
This is similar to what Act was busted for back in the Prebble days.
Brendan Horan claims he has been inundated by people wanting to share information about NZ First as he makes new allegations that his former party had breached Parliament’s rules.
Horan’s office today released a memo written by Apirana Dawson, NZ First’s director of operations, to party leader Winston Peters addressing “poor party financial structure and inadequate funds to support the party and to run a campaign”.
Horan alleged last week that Dawson and other NZ First staff were engaged in party work when they were meant to be focused on parliamentary activities. Speaker David Carter has confirmed he is investigating.
In today’s document, from July 2012, Dawson called for the establishment of a system where party members had their fees increased to at least $3 a month, to be paid by direct debit.
The document said the existing system did not raise enough money and there was a lack of accountability mechanisms. Read more »
Labour are staring down the barrel of a bad electoral defeat, one that is likely to crib their ability to have list MPs. Their poll results are all hovering around or below 30%…most start with a two.
This is caused by a couple of events. The first is the sinking vote of Labour…if they drop below the 2011 result then there will less List MPs.
They are also likely to pick up several other seats, that they currently don’t have and thereby reducing the list top up.
Consequently Labour MPs are deciding that they don;t really want the embarrassment of a low list ranking or losing the prospect of getting in on the list so are doing one of two things…bolting and getting first mover advantage on the limited prospects of outside jobs for ex-Labour MPs (Prasad, Jones, Fenton) or if they have an electorate seat declaring they don’t want to be on the list…Stuart Nash is one of those, and Ruth Dyson has announced the same.
Ruth Dyson, Labour’s longest-serving Christchurch MP, has decided not to take a place on the party’s list.
Labour general-secretary Tim Barnett confirmed Dyson, who holds the Port Hills electorate, had told the party she was withdrawing from the list selection process. Read more »
Winston Peters is a scurrilous, shameless, ratbag.
Last week he pronounced to all that Judith Collins would be gone with what he has. It turned out that he had nothing, as usual.
Yesterday in the house he went again, and again had nothing, but that didn’t stop him hurling a scurrilous smear at Brendan Horan.
Tracy Watkins reports:
Open hostilities have erupted between independent MP Brendan Horan and his former boss after NZ First leader Winston Peters today referred to Horan as “Jimmy Savile”.
Peters twice made reference to Horan as Savile, the late BBC presenter accused of sex crimes against children.
The first reference followed Horan attempting to table NZ First board meeting minutes which he told Parliament “point to improper use of taxpayer money”.
Peters responded: “This House should not be used in that way particularly by the Jimmy Savile of New Zealand politics.” Read more »
David Carter has ‘cleared’ Denis O’Rourke in his investigation into the relationship that isn’t a relationship because Denis O’Rourke specifically decided it wasn’t a relationship.
No matter how you look at it a Master/Slave relationship is still a relationship. What is obvious though is that David Carter has never been to Scotty & Mal’s bar on a Wednesday night, because if he had then he would never have made the ruling he has.
Parliament’s Speaker David Carter says he has had to accept that New Zealand First MP Denis O’Rourke is not in a relationship with his taxpayer funded employee and housemate Stephen James.
NZ First’s justice spokesman Mr O’Rourke was the subject of a complaint to Mr Carter by Queenstown man David Simpson who claimed Mr O’Rourke and his out of parliament assistant Mr James were in a long term relationship. Parliamentary rules forbid MPs from employing their spouses. Read more »
Why is the media complicit in these stage managed set ups, how obvious is it that Mallard and Hipkins set this up before going into the house, with the assistance of that paragon of virtue the former minister of racing.
Michael Woodhouse taking a back hander, seriously look at him he probably still sings in the church choir and self flagellates himself for impure thoughts.
Is this the hand of tax dodging union thug McCarten allowing Mallard to indulge himself in what he enjoys most, making politicians look like scum. Cunliffe,s new strategy is him trying to look presidential and letting Mallard off the leash, good luck with that one Matt.
Ill-tempered exchanges in Parliament over the ongoing cash for access stoush involving Chinese businessman Donghua Liu saw Labour MPs Trevor Mallard and Chris Hipkins ejected from the House this afternoon. Read more »
Labour’s reputation for being the Nasty party was once again confirmed with Trevor Mallard nasty smear in parliament yesterday.
His leader has failed to back up the smear as well, taking the coward’s way out on breakfast television.
Labour leader David Cunliffe has failed to produce any evidence to back the insinuation that Judith Collins’ family received $500,000 from Oravida.
Yesterday in Parliament, as Labour’s Grant Robertson was asking Ms Collins why she made alleged changes to her Beijing itinerary to favour Oravida over ministerial business, Trevor Mallard yelled “Half a million dollars to the family”.
Ms Collins — whose husband David Wong-Tung is an Oravida director — objected to the comment, and Speaker David Carter ejected Mr Mallard from the debating chamber.
This morning on TV3’s Firstline, Mr Cunliffe was asked if Labour had any evidence to back the $500,000 claim.
“One of the rules of Privilege is that what’s said in the House stay in the House, so I can’t really comment on that,” the Labour leader replied. Read more »