Winston on Key getting a free ride on the taxpayer

Author: Rt Hon Winston Peters
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 – 16:30

New Zealand First is questioning why any of John Key?s costs are being met by the taxpayer in the teapot defamation case.

?Despite Mr Key now saying the National Party will meet settlement costs, the taxpayer is still paying the bill for his lawyers,? says New Zealand? First Leader and MP for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

?The Speaker must re-think this decision. Mr Key was not at any time acting as the Prime Minister when he made statements about freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose, which he is now stepping away from with this settlement. He was the leader of the National Party, doing a political deal to stitch up the seat of Epsom with ACT MP John Banks.

?There was no prime ministerial responsibility involved ? not a whisker.

?According to the Prime Minister?s statement today, in 2013 the Speaker ruled that Mr Key?s legal costs and representation could be met by the taxpayer funded leader?s budget. The Speaker was wrong then and he is wrong now.

?Mr Key has argued that settling now will save taxpayers? money as there will be no court case, yet taxpayers have already paid for his costs and lawyers to date, over five years.

?The PM must come clean on how much has been paid. The Speaker must look at this closely. He is quick to chase any member or staff member who accidentally uses their parliamentary card for personal use on small amounts, but not the PM.

?The issue is clear cut.? Mr Key has said this himself when cornered, claiming he was wearing the hat of the PM, or the National Party leader or the husband who put the cat out to suit the occasion.

?He can?t have it both ways on this one.?

I think Winston has a point.? But he would be so much more righteous if he’d paid back the $158,000.