Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Parliament of the 1%

Yesterday the Herald exposed a rort by National MPs which saw them both rorting their (obscenely generous) superannuation scheme, and hiding assets (and potential conflicts of interest) from scrutiny. Today they have a followup story, exposing the enormous property holdings of some of our MPs. Ian McKelvie apparently owns $68.4 million worth of property, largely tied up in his family farm. Nicky Wagner owns $25.3 million, and oddly she feels she does not need to declare property held jointly with her partner as its "not part of my pecuniary interest". Chris Tremain owns $14.6 million, just ahead of John Key's $13.3 million in houses. And so it goes on and on, with ten MPs worth at least $4 million (and who knows how many who are "mere" millionaires). And the scary thing is that these are just their property portfolios. We have no idea (yet) what they hold in financial assets.

But it should be enough to cause some disquiet. Parliament, as a representative body, should look like New Zealand. It doesn't. Instead its stacked with the uber-rich, people who live lives nothing like ours, and whose interests are nothing like ours. Its a Parliament of the 1%, and its no wonder then that the legislation they produce so often seems to be in the interests of that tiny elite, and against the rest of us.