Wednesday, February 21, 2018


That's the only way to describe Ministerial Services, who are apparently incapable of paying MPs and Ministers the correct amount of money:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters were both mistakenly paid over $21,000 for accommodation they didn't need.

The pair put out a press release on Tuesday afternoon explaining the overpayment, which resulted from the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) continuing to pay them an accommodation allowance despite each moving into an official residence.

Ardern received $12,082.19 while Peters received $9123. They have both repaid the amount in full and received an apology for the error.

"As soon as we were advised of the error, we both immediately took steps to reimburse the money. That has now happened," the pair said.

"The error occurred when the DIA's Ministerial Services continued to pay each of us a Member of Parliament's Wellington accommodation allowance after they had moved us into official accommodation, at which point payments should have stopped."

This wasn't a case like Bill English's of MP's trying to rort the system - instead it was a pure fuckup from Ministerial Services. They've accepted complete responsibility for the error, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence, and it invites the question of how many other times they've fucked up, and whether they've even noticed. As for Ardern and Peters, their salaries had just doubled or tripled. Unless they're getting a detailed payslip every month setting out which of the multiple allowances they are and aren't receiving, I can't blame them for not noticing this.