David Butcher

Labour and Greens keeping power policy details secret

Labour and the Greens want you to trust them to run the country.

They want you to believe the brochures, the tweets, the Facebook messages and policy headlines but they don’t want you to know the precise details of their doomed to fail power policy.

Investors wanting more certainty around Labour-Greens policy for overhauling the electricity sector before the election appear to be out of luck.

The parties released plans for radically restructuring the industry shortly before the float of Mighty River Power in May last year and their policy has hung over the partial privatisation programme since.

At an energy industry conference yesterday the architects of the policy, Labour finance spokesman David Parker and Greens co-leader Russel Norman, restated the broad principles of the NZ Power plans.

“We don’t plan to release much further detail before the election,” said Norman after a panel discussion at the Downstream conference in Auckland.

“We’ve released a lot more detail than the National Party did before the Bradford reforms.”

In government the parties would be in a much better position to develop policy using the bureaucracy at their disposal, Norman said.  Read more »

Former Labour minister busted for dodgy spending

Just in case you all missed it all in the rush to denigrate a former National minister there is this case of a former Labour minister troughing it up fraudulently. Turns out that it isn’t only National/NZ First MPs that are dodgy.

Former Labour cabinet minister David Butcher has lost an appeal against his convictions for fraudulently claiming air fares under a scheme for former MPs.

Butcher, aged 51, an economist of Hataitai, Wellington, was found guilty of three charges late last year. He was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $9219 for trips to Washington, Los Angeles and Beijing.

Former MPs qualify for a rebate on international air travel.

Because of Butcher’s length of service in Parliament, from 1978 to 1990, he was entitled to claim 75 per cent of the price of a business class return fare from New Zealand to London each year.

The rebate did not apply if Butcher was travelling on business or if some source other than Butcher was paying the rest of the fare.

The Crown said Butcher was disqualified from getting cheap fares for the three trips on both counts.

If this was the private sector being caught out you can just bet Pedobear Power or someone similar would be screaming for legislative changes to remove the temptation of rorting taxpayers, but since it is ex-MP perks we are talking about here there is fat chance of that happening.