Sunday, May 24, 2009

Where are MP's financial interests?

While we are on the subject of Parliamentary transparency, here's an important question completely overlooked by the Herald in its rush to localise a foreign scandal: where are MP's declarations of pecuniary interests?

Under Appendix B of the Standing Orders, MPs are required to submit an annual declaration of their pecuniary interests. The declarations were due in at the end of February, and in previous years have been posted online by mid-April. But its now nearing the end of May, and there is absolutely no sign of them.

This isn't good enough. This is public information, and it deserves to be made public in a speedy fashion so that MPs can be held accountable.

Standing Orders set a 90-day deadline for publication of the annual register. By my calculation that deadline expires this Friday (May 29). So, where previous Speakers have published quickly, our new one is dragging things out until the last possible minute to get an extra few weeks of secrecy. I think that speaks volumes about his commitment to transparency.