Wednesday, May 10, 2017

An unrepresentative Parliament

One of the big improvements that has come from MMP is that we now have a Parliament that looks much more like New Zealand. Where once upon a time we had a monoculture of drunk old white men, we now have a diversity of representation: women, Maori, Pacific peoples, New Zealand Chinese and Indian. While there is still scope for improvement, particularly around gender and age, our Parliament reflects the population far better than it once did.

Except in one area: wealth. As the Herald's Barry Soper points out, the annual Register of Pecuniary Interests shows that our MPs are a well-heeled lot:

One thing that is clear though is that most of them are a fairly well heeled lot and all but ten of them are well housed with many of them having multiple properties.

Take Parmjeet Parmar who was willing to take a hiding to nothing for the Nats in the Mt Roskill by election late last year. She doesn't seem to have a great deal of commitment to the area anyway, with an interest in at least seven properties in the million dollar city, both residential and commercial, but not one in the electorate she was standing for.

And if she ever falls out of favour with the Nats she can always fall back on one of her numerous business interests, including a lolly factory no less.

The new Government whip Jami-Lee Ross, who railed against socialism in his maiden speech, telling us it was a failed experiment and quoting Maggie Thatcher who said the trouble with it is you run out of other people's money to spend. Yeah well, he's still got a student loan along with a couple of properties in Auckland and an apartment in Wellington!

The average National MP apparently owns 2.2 houses, whereas only 63 percent of us live in our own homes. Its no wonder that they seem divorced from the reality of the housing crisis - they're the pricks profiting from it! Throw in their (deservedly) high salaries and the fact that they're showered with gifts (AKA bribes), and our "representatives" are living in a completely different world from the rest of us. One where things are fine, thanks, and the biggest problem is working out how to hide your conflicts of interest in a trust.

Not very representative, is it?