Thursday, October 29, 2009


Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith has gone into bat for Bill English, saying that it is "unfair" that public pressure means English is no longer being paid accommodation expenses.

No, it's not.

We do not pay accommodation expenses to MPs who live in Wellington. And Bill English certainly does. He has lived there for over ten years with his family. His partner has her business there. His kids to go to school there. His residence in Dipton is purely nominal, for electoral purposes - just like John Key's residence in Helensville.

What would be unfair would be paying an MP who lives in Wellington expenses as if he did not. What would be unfair would be allowing MPs to rort the taxpayer to line their own pockets.

If Smith cannot see this, he has been in Parliament too long. he has become a symptom of the cosy culture of self-interest and corruption among our MPs. In its reaction to English's rort, the public has sent a clear message that we will not tolerate that culture. If Smith will not take that message to heart, then perhaps it is time he moved on.