Monday, September 07, 2009


Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English attracted public opprobrium when it was revealed that he was claiming $36,000 a year in "expenses" for living in his own home. In an effort to defuse the situation, the Prime Minister ordered a review, and English continued to rort the taxpayer (albeit for "a lesser amount).

That review has now reported back. And surprise, surprise, it has decided that rather than paying Minister's reasonable and necessary expenses for accommodation, it will simply pay them a block grant of $40,000 a year - a figure about twice the present average [PDF], and an increase even on English's greed. In other words, at a time when the country is in recession, when New Zealanders are losing their jobs, and the public service is being told to cut back, the government have just given themselves a $20,000 pay rise by stealth.

I have said before that I support MPs and Ministers getting reasonable and necessary expenses so they can do their jobs properly. But this is neither reasonable nor necessary. Instead, it is just greed on a massive scale. And if politicians wonder why people regard them as greedy, self-serving parasites with no sense of shame, they need look no further.