Friday, December 17, 2010


Back in 2009, when Labour was (rightly) attacking Bill English over his housing rort, it was revealed that many other MPs were also abusing their expenses, claiming an accommodation allowance while renting out homes they owned in Wellington (a trick which allowed them to claim more - full rent rather than just the interest on the mortgage). Among them was Labour leader Phil Goff. To sterilise the issue, Goff promised to sell the apartment.

Unfortunately, he didn't. 18 months later, he's still renting it out, while pocketing $28,000 a year to live in rented accommodation. As Goff notes, its "within the rules". But given that he is one of the people who gets to write those rules, that doesn't mean much. Its just not acceptable to the public for MPs to be maximising their expenses, especially when we're being told to tighten our belts. And the fact that he had promised to correct the situation makes things worse. As a result, Goff doesn't just look like a rorter, but a liar as well.

This is disappointing to say the least, and it shows a serious lack of judgement on Goff's part. Did he really think he wouldn't get caught, that people wouldn't check to see whether he kept his word? Or are the bad habits of the 80's, when Goff hung around with Roger Douglas and lied repeatedly to the public about his government's policies, too hard to break?