Greedy Little Piggies

Auckland Council keeping the size of Bob Harvey’s trough a secret

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The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance says that the size of Bob Harvey’s new council trough should be made public, instead of the secret it is now.

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is calling out Auckland Council for its secretive approach to ratepayer money after it shot down the Alliance’s enquiries regarding the remuneration of Sir Bob Harvey in his new role as ‘Champion for Auckland – overseas investment’. After Friday’s announcement the Ratepayers’ Alliance asked whether and how much Sir Bob was to be paid for the role. A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office emailed back that evening with “Bob’s pay is personal information which Auckland Council won’t be releasing.”   Read more »

How much spent on an apartment? Haven’t these guys heard of AirBnB?

Murray McCully’s department is out of control.

MFaT has blown more than $11 million on an apartment for our ambassador to the UN.

Hells teeth even at New York prices that is a whole lot of hootenanny gone a begging when it would have been cheaper to rent.

The Government has shelled out almost $11 million on a luxury New York apartment for our man at the United Nations.

Gerard van Bohemen, who was previously deputy secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and responsible for multilateral and legal affairs, was appointed New Zealand’s new permanent representative at the United Nations in February.

The US$7.9 million pied-a-terre in Manhattan’s Zeckendorf Development’s 50 United Nations Plaza lists the buyer as “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand”.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the apartment in New York had been bought as the residence for the Head of Mission.

He said it cost $10,975,228.

“This follows a decision to sell the old residence, which is now on the market.”

Read more »

Apparently wasting taxpayer money is less important now that the media attention has died down

The Taxpayers’ Union has been jilted by Steve Joyce’s MBIE now that the fuss has died down.

The head of the government department that spent $140,474 on a TV screen, $67,339 on a sign and $5,480 on an arts consultant for its new Wellington offices, has retracted an offer made to the Taxpayers’ Union to meet about the Ministry’s spending. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“After we expressed public concerns last week about the Ministry’s spending, MBIE officials told us that the CEO, David Smol, would be willing to meet and discuss the wasteful spending within the Ministry. Now the media heat has died down, they refuse to talk.”

“We wanted to have a serious meeting away from the media to constructively engage on how the Ministry is spending taxpayers’ money. Instead of keeping their word, the Ministry is once again running from accountability.” Read more »

It’s not just our politicians on the bludge

Politicians the world over just cannot help themselves helping themselves to our taxpayer cash, especially when it benefits them directly.

We have seen Paul Foster-Bell, Claudette Hauiti and now David Cunliffe trough it up on travel.

We see the two main parties working out better ways to avail themselves for more entitlements.

Politicians, wherever they are from, become afflicted with entitleitis…they even use the same justifications.

The ”age of entitlement” is over, according to Treasurer Joe Hockey, but politicians continue to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on flights to sporting events, study tours, recipe collections and children’s books – such as Aliens in Underpants Save the World.

Department of Finance records show rising Liberal Party MP Jamie Briggs claimed almost $11,000 in entitlements over two years for travel to and from sporting events. For most of this period, November 2011 to November 2013, Mr Briggs was chairman of the Coalition’s government waste committee, established to highlight the mismanagement of taxpayer money.

His entitlement claims included:

■ $2800 last November for him and a family member to travel between Adelaide and Melbourne, where they attended Derby Day in the Emirates marquee.

■ $1600 last June to travel between Adelaide and Melbourne, where he attended an AFL game as a guest of BHP.

■ $2300 in December 2012 to travel between Adelaide and Sydney, where he attended the Australian Open as a guest of Golf Australia.

Mr Briggs said: ”Each trip was undertaken within the entitlement rules and publicly declared as required. They included meetings with a range of people related to my work as a federal member of Parliament.”

Read more »

David Cunliffe and his travel troughing

David-Cunliffe-piggy

Yesterday Andrea Vance rightfully gave Paul Foster-Bell a swift kick in the goolies for his troughing.

There was another MP though that significantly increased his travel expenses during a selection battle…David Cunliffe.

The Cunliffe had a large spike in his air travel expenses during the Labour’s got talent contest and shortly after then his air travel spending appears to have returned to normal.

Jan 1 – Mar 31 2013 – $7,208

April 1 – June 30 2013 – $8,538

July 1 – 30 Sept 2013 – $14,071

Oct 1 to Dec 31 2013 – $20,909

Jan 1 – Mar 31 2014 – $8,493

All this makes Grant Robertson’s attack on National yesterday somewhat an own goal.   Read more »

The trough pig tries explaining

Someone in National needs to tell trough pig Paul Foster-Bell to shut up. Explaining is losing, and will only lead to more questions.

Right now Claudette Hauiti has shown she is far smarter than Paul Foster-Bell.

Paul Foster-Bell has rebutted Andrea Vance’s article where she calls him out for being a bludging ratbag for using his parliamentary travel perk to travel to whangarei in his failed attempt to win the national party nomination up there.

pfb-trough pig

This issue is pretty easy to sort out.  Read more »

Here piggy, piggy, piggy

You would think Louise Upston would know better, but this is often the way with MPs after a few terms, they simply get out of touch and the entitlement mentality sinks in.

Often it is the smuggest of MPs that make the stupidest of mistakes. This week it was Gerry Brownlee who must not be liking MPs throwing his own words about how easy it is for top MPs to damage themselves back at him.

And now it is Louise Upston, National’s chief whip, who is thoroughly disliked in the caucus, creating the wrong sort of headlines.

Would you struggle to find a hotel room in Auckland or Christchurch for under $210 a night? Spare a thought for MPs who believe a $30 boost to their taxpayer-funded accommodation just won’t cover it.

The hard-done-by politicians are also asking for 30 free flights a year for their spouses, partners or children – on top of their at-least $150,000-a-year salaries.

A review of expenses by the Remuneration Authority, which sets MPs’ pay, is proposing the amount they are allowed to claim for hotel rooms while in Auckland and Christchurch on business be increased from $180 to $210. Outside of those cities it would rise from $160 to $190 a night.   Read more »

Will troughers be honest before health committee, Ctd?

Here’s the rub. Organisations that trough off the backs of the taxpayer usually spend their lives demanding the Government “do something” by way of policy interventions.

And that “do something” for the most part, relates to the introduction of more laws that eventually ends up restricting one section of society – obviously that part of society that they don’t like.

The likes of Sue Taylor of Te Reo Marama, or 2013 Trougher of the Year Professor Boyd Swinburn, are two obvious examples in the health sector.

A vast amount of their time is spent racing around trying to make sure they’re “doing something” to “justify” the dosh they tuck out of the Government machine.

“Justify” is really a wishy-washy word because on the most part, all troughers in the health sector have to do to tuck into the millions of dollars they receive, is write a 6 monthly report that some faceless ministry minion quickly scans and whacks in a filing cabinet.   Read more »

Will Troughers be honest before Health Committee – Part 1

You will know that I’m no fan of troughers. So much so that over the years I’ve exposed a raft of troughers sucking on the taxpayers’ tit.

This week the Health Select Committee will hear again from a bunch of troughers demanding NZ truck ahead with plain packaging for ciggie packets.

The thing with troughers is that once in the trough, they rarely ever see the need to get out of it, and continue to demand more and more dosh from the taxpayer to fund their efforts.

A prime example of this is Sue Taylor from the infamous Te Reo Marama – once headed by veteran trougher/activist Shane Kawaneta Bradbrook. A little background is needed. I ran an exclusive exposure about them back in 2009/2010 – here’s the full story.

Exclusive – Te Reo Marama & Maori Smoking – Troughing 101

Exclusive – Te Reo Marama & Maori Smoking – Troughing 102

Exclusive – Te Reo Marama  & Maori Smoking – Troughing 103

Gotcha! – TRM Funding Cut    Read more »

The letter was a mistake, what about her double dipping troughing?

Tracey Martin has apologised for her ill-conceived idea of heavying a Police district commander on NZ First letterhead over an operational matter.

I wonder perhaps if Winston peters would like to apologise for his tirade now that Tracey Martin has acknowledged that what she did was wrong, something the arrogant sod couldn’t admit himself.

Laura McQuillan reports:

Days after Judith Collins accused her of interfering in the police, a New Zealand First MP has admitted she made a mistake.

Tracey Martin wrote to police in March, with concerns about a Warkworth cop being transferred to other duties, saying it would leave a gap in community initiatives.

She wrote it as the chair of a school board of trustees, where the officer is also a member, but it was printed on her MP letterhead.

Ms Martin admits she got that wrong.

“That was a mistake on my part to be perfectly frank, and that was me doing something on a Sunday and just working at a fast pace.

“I mixed my roles and I should not have mixed my roles.”

In other news featuring Tracey Martin, i see she has been caught double dipping.   Read more »