Taxpayers’ Union has been discriminatory on perks – it forgets that some MPs (but not Alf) are “special”


The Taxpayers’ Union has been racially insensitive in taking a ping at the last-gasp spending of MPs who were headed for the political exit.

It has picked out two indigenous persons for special mention in a media statement, which is fair enough, at first blush, because indigenous persons are “special”.

But it has picked them out for critical mention.

This sadly overlooks the entitlement of our special persons to privileges that are not available to non-indigenous persons. These entitlements should include bigger dips into various public troughs than should be allowed for non-indigenous piggies.

Beyond that, Alf is discomforted whenever attention is drawn to MPs’ perks and spending of public money lest the media focus suddenly be turned on his spending, which would include lots of spending in the Eketahuna Club where Alf likes to treat his constituents, although some critics might not understand the need for him to treat voters who would never vote for anyone else but him.

The Taxpayers’ Union statement does not mention Alf but does sort out two indigenous persons for its waspish comments.

Responding to the NZ Herald report that Hone Harawira spent up $54,000 on the taxpayer in his last three months as an MP, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:

“It is absolutely disgraceful that an MP managed to rack up a bill of $54,020 in just three months. Worse, we understand that a large proportion of the amount was incurred after it became clear Mr Harawira had lost his seat.”

“It is also disappointing to see that National couldn’t keep disgraced MP Claudette Hauiti away from taxpayer funds right up to the end. Parties need to keep a better eye on their MPs spending, especially those who have been ushered to the exit and have nothing to lose.

“It is no wonder the public are suspicious about MP perks when there are these sorts of abuses.”

Alf might confide to his close friends (but would never say so publicly) that he would most certainly make the most of his parliamentary spending entitlements should he learn he had been booted out of office. In his case, of course, this is a thoroughly hypothetical situation because he is no more likely to be voted out of office than Hone Harawira is likely to apologise for saying in an email in 2009 “White motherfuckers have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries…”

The NZ Herald – for the record – says the latest release of MPs’ and ministers’ expenses covered the entire election campaign period and the 10 days after the election.

It shows that most MPs spent less than usual during the election period.

In all, MPs spent a total of $1.5 million between and July 1 and September 30, compared to $1.7 million in the same period in 2013.

But a few MPs were not as frugal.

And yes, according to the Herald, Mana leader Hone Harawira was the biggest-spending MP.

In the last three months before he lost his Te Tai Tokerau seat he racked up $54,020 in expenses.

This compared to $44,737 in the same period last year.

But fair to say….

MPs in Maori seats often had big travel bills because their electorates were larger than the general electorates.

The Herald then mentioned Hauiti.

Although she was not running for re-election, she spent more than $23,000 in three months – the second-largest bill for a National MP.

Ms Hauiti did not stand for re-election after she was found to have used her parliamentary credit card for personal spending.

And then we are told …

Independent MP Brendan Horan, who also lost his seat at the election, spent $25,500 in the last expense period – an increase of $9000 from 2013.

By failing to mention him in its press statement, the Taxpayers Union has been unfortunately selective.

Come to think of it, the Taxpayers’ Union should have done its own research and not relied on the NZ Herald.

It had regurgitated some pap from the Herald earlier in the day.

It had to apologise for its troubles.

Earlier today the Taxpayers’ Union released a media statement regarding Auckland Council rate rises. We had been anticipating an announcement about rate increases for some time.

The New Zealand Herald reported under the headline “Average Auckland rates rise revealed”, that: “The average rates increase for all Auckland properties is 29 per cent, it was revealed today.”

With this announcement we published a media release which made a number of statements based on this reported information.

We have since been informed by the Council that the information reported on the New Zealand Herald website was factually incorrect. We note that since our release was published, the NZ Herald article has been significantly amended to reflect that, in this case, the increases in property valuations will have no impact on the amount of rates money the council collects.

The Taxpayers’ Union often makes comment about breaking news stories. We look to reputable newspapers and media websites for the latest news of relevance to our organisation and members. We apologise for the error.

Oh dear.

Here’s hoping the Herald hacks got the parliamentary spending right.

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