Alf is braced for a hard time in the club tonight. The law-abiding people of Eketahuna will be making bloody sure he knows they are outraged about political perks generally and Taito Phillip Field’s perks in particular.
Of course even Alf was unaware – until today – that the former MP is still entitled to travel perks despite being convicted of bribery and corruption.
The parliamentary rules on entitlements do not cover the issue of MPs with convictions.
That means the former Labour member for Mangere, who served more than five terms, is entitled to hefty travel allowances for ex-MPs. So is his wife, Maxine.
They can claim for up to 12 free domestic return trips a year and a 90 per cent discount on international travel as long as it does not exceed the cost of a return business-class flight to London on Air New Zealand – about $10,000.
On the basis of a $600 return airfare to Samoa, that would amount to 18 flights a year at $60 each.
Field, of course, was found guilty of 11 bribery and corruption charges and obstruction of justice charges and is due to be sentenced on October 6.
Former MPs can claim the perks only if they were elected before 1999, but he qualifies, because nobody anticipated this sort of situation when the rules were last drawn up.
On top of those travel perks, it’s fair to suppose the taxpayer will have to pick up the tab for the costs of hauling him off to prison when he is sent there (or should be). The bugger can count on getting publicly funded food and accommodation, too.
Field created history in 1993, when he became the first Pacific Islander to be elected a New Zealand member of parliament
Then he became the first New Zealand politician found guilty of bribery and corruption as an MP.
Alf proposes another famous first for the felonous Field.
He should be the first prisoner banged up in a container, when Crusher gets around to introducing containers to relieve the pressure on jail space.
No comforts. Let him do whatever must be done to convert the container to a cell, but without the help of Thai tilers or anyone else.