Monday, March 21, 2016

Why are we paying for John Key's mistake?

Remember the Teapot Tape scandal? John Key had his police raid newsrooms just days before an election in an effort to intimidate them into not publishing information he didn't want made public. Then he defamed Bradley Ambrose, accusing him of deliberately recording the conversation and comparing him to News of the World journalists. Now, he's settled the resulting defamation suit. But the kicker? We're paying for it:

The problem? Leader's office funding must be used for "Parliamentary purposes". The Speaker's Directions give examples, including policy development, communications, ICT, and helping members in "discharging their responsibilities as legislators and elected representatives". Settling defamation suits stemming from comments made in a personal capacity as a candidate does not seem to fall within that. But even if it is "within the rules" (as politicians love to say), its certainly not what the public expects this money to be used for.

Bluntly, John Key defamed Bradley Ambrose. He should be paying the expenses for that himself, not stealing from the taxpayer to do it. His refusal to bear the costs himself is just another way to deny responsibility, and it makes him a thief.