Parliamentary Services

Is anyone else done with Dunne?

I’m over Peter Dunne, the man is a grandstanding bouffant tosspot.

Now he is whining about snooping on MPs when there was none.

An MP who had fallen victim to Parliamentary Service’s snooping before was “shocked” by revelations it was?up to its old tricks.

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne had his email conversations with then-Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance wrongly handed over to a ministerial inquiry by Parliamentary Service in 2013.

The then-head of Parliamentary Service, Geoff Thorn, resigned amid the fallout.

Dunne had already quit as a minister prior to the ministerial inquiry after refusing to hand over his emails for an investigation into the leaking of a Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) report.

Dunne said he was “shocked” and “outraged” to hear Parliamentary Service was defending its computer security that is screening and blocking MPs emails if they contain words like “sensitive” or “classified”.

The Privileges Committee made “very clear statements about the privacy of MPs communications” at the time of the ministerial inquiry into why Dunne’s emails were handed over, he said.

“They appear to have fallen on deaf ears as far as the Parliamentary Service is concerned.”

Peter Dunne wasn’t a victim, he fell for the glad eye of Andrea Vance. He let his little head do his thinking.? Read more »

Greens caught lying, lazy journalists buy the spin

The? Green party has managed to get their spin bought by one of the better gallery journalists.

They basically lied in a ?press release and Tracy Watkins picked it up in an opinion piece on parliamentary expenses.

The ARC [Appropriations Review Committee] is a panel convened once every parliamentary term to review funding for Parliament and MPs. It usually comprises former MPs (on this occasion John Carter and Rick Barker, who have respect across the political spectrum) and an accountant or similar to lend it the air of independence. Its job is to poke into every aspect of parliamentary and state funding for political parties represented in Parliament and decide whether more money, or any other tweaks, are required.

These areas include the costs of running electorate offices, staff pay rates, support staff funding and political party funding, which largely comprises the leader’s budget. Controversially,the leader’s budget is one area where the ARC proposes a boost in funding – controversially because “leader’s budget” is really just a euphemism for slush fund. Millions of dollars in taxpayer funding disappear into these slush funds every year with little public accountability.

The ARC points out that these budgets have not been increased since 2007, so have fallen in real terms thanks to inflation.

“Cry me a river” might be the stock response to this plight, given that this has also been a period of real belt tightening for many government departments. ?? Read more »

Either way Hone is giving the finger to the rules

DD9386DC-AF2E-4E33-B8C2-7940230C6AEA

Hone is dumber than a sack of hammers.?His response?to the Taxpayers Union jumping on him for taxpayer funded billboards is to incorrectly claim the Union is itself taxpayer funded?

Harawira dismissed the claims of Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams, who yesterday branded the apparent breach of rules as “an outrageous use of taxpayer money”.

“But the only thing that is outrageous, is how outrageously stupid Jordan Williams was to make the accusation without checking the facts” Harawira said.

“The billboards were all legitimately paid for from campaign funds.” Read more »

Whaleoil apologises to Hone Harawira

A few days ago, I ran an article accusing Hone Harawira of getting the tax payer to stump up for his election signage.

Hone-At-The-Trough-630x472

Turns out that I’m wrong. ?For that I apologise. ? Read more »

I have nothing to apologise for

I see my good friend Dr Brian Edwards is all cock-a-hoop about Matthew Hooton choosing to apologise for calling David Cunliffe a liar on radio.

ds

If we put aside the side-splitting irony of a corporate soldier of fortune hitman spin doctor choosing to apologise for lying to a career politician, I did find myself asking: “Why am I not apologising?”

I’ve stopped short of calling David Cunliffe a liar. ?Or having lied about working on the formation of Fonterra while working for BGC. ?Instead, I’ve asked lots of questions that have exposed David Cunliffe’s fanciful claims that litter his CV.

He’s gone into bat with a dodgy looking document that doesn’t have his name on it anywhere, from an organisation that he worked for over 14 years ago, and claims this is the documentary proof that he worked 8 hours on the formation of Fonterra, at best two years before Fonterra as a concept of conceived of.

Apart from the fact it clearly doesn’t link David Cunliffe to anything, it has always been heavily redacted since it was released. ?And yes, forensic analysis carried out by a number of people have thrown up too many unanswered questions for me to back down from the idea the whole thing is a setup.

Why are the Media asleep on this? ? Read more »

Dear Lockwood

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith
Speaker of the House of Representatives

By blog and email

Re: Parliamentary Services Funded Travel being used for Party Business

Dear Dr Smith,

Could you please clarify the rules around the use of Parliamentary Services funded travel where MPs are predominantly travelling to campaign.

The example I have in mind is MPs travelling to swing seats during the next four months to campaign on behalf of their party?s candidate.

In the event that MPs are breaking the rules around the use of parliamentary services funding to campaign could you please inform me what steps you will be taking to recover the costs from those who have breached the rules?

Should you choose not to recover these costs could you please inform me what steps I can personally take to recover these funds on behalf of the New Zealand tax payer.

Further would you be able to inform me of whether I should refer these breaches to the Electoral Commission if this spending is not included in Party?s electoral returns.

Yours faithfully

 

Cameron Slater
Whaleoil

Dear Lockwood

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith
Speaker of the House of Representatives

By blog and email

Re: Parliamentary Services Funded Travel being used for Party Business

Dear Dr Smith,

Could you please clarify the rules around the use of Parliamentary Services funded travel where MPs are predominantly travelling on party business.

The example I have in mind is MPs travelling for Party conferences or conventions.

In the event that MPs are breaking the rules around the use of parliamentary services funding to attend party business could you please inform me what steps you will be taking to recover the costs from those who have breached the rules?

Should you choose not to recover these costs could you please inform me what steps I can personally take to recover these funds on behalf of the New Zealand tax payer.

Yours faithfully

 

Cameron Slater
Whaleoil

 

Dear Lockwood

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith
Speaker of the House of Representatives

By blog and email

Re: Parliamentary Services Funded Offices being used for Party Business

Dear Dr Smith,

As you may be aware a number of MPs have been using their parliamentary services offices for Party business.

Could you please inform me if this is legal, and in the event it is not legal could you please inform me of how I formally complain about this abuse of Parliamentary Services funding.

If I can prove Party?s have been using Parliamentary Services funded offices for party business could you please outline the action you will take against offenders. In the event you choose not to take action could you please give me details of how I take action to prevent this rort from continuing.

Yours faithfully

 

Cameron Slater
Whaleoil

 

Dear Lockwood

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith

Speaker of the House of Representatives

By blog and email

Re: Parliamentary Services Funding benefiting MPs or Parties

Dear Dr Smith,

Some MPs and some political parties own electorate offices that are rented to Parliamentary Services. This appears to be in clear breach of Parliamentary Services Rules.

There are several problems with this:

  1. Political Parties are able to amass a large property portfolio, gaining the benefits of capital gains over time, funding political operations at the expense of tax payers.
  2. Individual MPs owning their own offices receive benefits of capital gains from properties rented to Parliamentary Services.
  3. Individual MPs owning their own properties to Parliamentary Services at greatly reduced rentals to enable them to have an office that is substantially larger or in a better location than what their rule following competitors have.

In all cases I can provide specific examples on my blog if you require them.

Please could you inform me of whether this is legal, or whether it is acceptable under Parliamentary Services rules? If it is not could you please inform me of the action you intend to take against, or if you chose not to take action the action I can take.

Could you please also address the issue of whether an office on a prominent site rented by parliamentary services at below market rates needs to account for the difference in the market rate and the rate paid in the MP?s electoral return. If this is not your responsibility can you please inform me and I will forward this email to the Electoral Commission.

Yours faithfully

Cameron Slater
Whaleoil

Labour's Pledge card rort re-visited

Labout twice used a pledge card to advertise their promises, they twice used the taxpayer to fund it, though they really stepped out of line in 2005 and spent over $800,000 of taxpayers money. The VRWC mounted a campaign and even made a song to make them pay it back.

After they got caught though Labour retrospectively validated their spending in a particularly egregious piece of legislating. They passed the?legislation?so that Darnton v. Clark wouldn’t proceed. At the time I blogged at how?appalling?this would be and how the fox being in charge of the hen house was simply leading to the corrupting of politics and state funding of election campaigns by stealth. Their bill was?effectively?the creation of public funding of political parties by stealth:

The bill extends until 2009 the current laws which allow MPs to use parliamentary funds for “communications” – such as advertisements and pamphlets – as long as they do not explicitly tout for votes, donations or party memberships.

However, it goes further than current law – effectively authorising public funds to be used for publications such as Labour’s 2005 pledge card, which the Auditor-General deemed to break the rules for parliamentary funded advertisements at the last election.

At that time National opposed the bill but upon entering?government?had Simon Power do a deal with the devil to extend the rules in 2009. This was an appalling mistake on National’s part, one they are suffering the consequences of now.

You have to give Labour credit though. When they re-wrote the law books to validate what was once illegal they had the fore-thought to predict they would again be in opposition and so wrote the rules so they could back a truck up and fill it with our cash for them to spend on their advertising. Then they pushed for bi-partisan agreement and got their tame Nat, Simon Power, to help them.

This election has seen a broke Labour really stretch the rules. They are essentially running Pledge Card 3.0, the scale is vast. Yesterday I blogged about their latest mailout to the country which is funded by Parliamentary Services. Like their online ads it is authorised by Rick Barker and carries the Parliamentary seal in a small format which is against the rules. Not only that though, the brochure asks voter to go to their new website which is alternatively authorised by Chris Flat the party general secretary. Labour do this because parliamentary services isn’t paying for the website, the party is.

David Farrar has likewise noticed the sheer scale of what Labour are attempting. Quite simply they are broke and they think they can pick the taxpayers pockets to fund their election campaign.

So, Labour is spending vast amounts of tax payer money on brochures and on online ads that are designed to send people to a campaign website asking them to vote Labour. Of course the politicians wrote the rules so it is unlikely that this breaches the intent of the law but it?certainly?breaches the spirit. They are using public funds to campaign and they are doing it all before August 26 before the tap gets turned off.

Given that this is their second mail out to the country and they are plastering their online ads all over high traffic sites it is highly likely that the spending far exceeds the $800,000 that Labour stole from us in 2005. They are probably well over $1million spent.

I ask readers to send me examples of Labour advertising via email tot he tipline with details of dates and location. For each piece I?receive?I will lay a complaint with either the Speaker or the Electoral Commission or both if warranted. This egregious theft of public moneys for party political broadcasts must end.

×