Friday, February 11, 2011

Earning that reputation VIII

Back in November, Lockwood Smith abolished sitting MPs' international travel rort, under which some of them had enjoyed up to 90% discounts (paid for by the taxpayer) on their international holidays. There was absolutely no justification for the rort, and its abolition was hugely popular with the public (who at the same time wondered why the travel rort of former MPs, which has even less justification, wasn't being abolished as well).

Unfortunately, the abolition wasn't retrospective, and MPs who rushed to book their holidays before the guillotine have enjoyed a "last hurrah" on the taxpayer. Chris Carter was caught, and had to cancel his taxpayer-funded Sri Lankan holiday at the last minute, but both Shane Ardern and Ruth Dyson seem to have gotten away with it, each spending more on international travel in the December quarter than they did for the rest of the year combined. And now neither is willing to front up and explain to us how our money was used.

This is a perfect example of why the public has such a low opinion of MPs. And if MPs want to change this reputation, then they need to stand united in condemning this self-serving, corrupt behaviour. Otherwise, the public will take their silence as tacit approval of this plunder, and they'll have no-one to blame but themselves.