Parliamentary expenses: Here are ours, where are the rest?

by frog

The last few days have resulted in a renewed focus on Parliamentary expenses.  Here’s Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn:

So, what’s the latest way MPs are conspiring to earn their bad reputation? Removing any factual test on where they live, allowing them to claim “out of town” accommodation expenses, even if they actually live in Wellington:

Members of Parliament are secretly planning to change the rules around their $24,000-a-year accommodation allowance to make it easier for those who make Wellington their home to still be counted as out-of-towners.

Under the new rules, MPs will be able to nominate a “home base” where they normally live when not doing parliamentary business in Wellington.

If that is outside Wellington, they will qualify for the accommodation allowance.

In recognition of the requirement for them to be in Wellington for longer periods than backbenchers, ministers, the leader of the opposition, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker would be exempt from even the loose test for a “home base”.

MPs have resolved that for senior members “their non-Wellington home would remain their `home base’ regardless of the amount of time they are able to spend there (thereby also preventing the perception that the member is no longer based in their constituency)”.

An ordinary MP’s home base would be deemed to be in Wellington only if their electorate was within its commuting area or they lived “permanently” in the area.

So, their response to Bill English’s appalling ethical failure in charging the taxpayer $700 a week for living in his own home is to legalise it. And then they wonder why we think they’re dogshit.

But it gets better! That change to transparency around international travel perks, that almost all party leaders have now denounced? It turns out that their representatives on the Parliamentary Services Commission all agreed to it:

Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key confirmed he would be asking his MPs next week to consider voluntarily disclosing their travel expenses, effectively flouting the Speaker’s ruling. But this appears to cut across the position National took behind closed doors. Its representative on the PSC, Napier MP Chris Tremain, is understood to have raised no objections when Dr Smith outlined his plan.

ACT leader Rodney Hide also called for transparency but his party’s representative, John Boscawen, is also believed to have raised no objections.

The sole exception to this was the Greens. As for the rest, they have only themselves to blame when we regard them as lying, self-interested hypocrites.

It seems some want to protect privilege and impose greater secrecy over what MPs spend public money on.

So, in the interests of transparency and accountability, Metiria Turei this afternoon released the Green MPs’ expenses for the last quarter:

Party

Member

Wel Accomm

Non Wel Accomm

Air Travel

Surface Travel

Grand Total

Green

Clendon, David

5,086

1,173

8,997

4,622

19,878

Delahunty, Catherine

4,969

120

5,029

3,926

14,044

Graham, Kennedy

3,975

218

9,779

1,674

15,645

Hague, Kevin

5,586

810

12,960

3,790

23,147

Hughes, Gareth

376

8,499

4,750

13,625

Kedgley, Sue

747

3,579

1,621

5,947

Locke, Keith

4,121

253

10,094

3,673

18,142

Norman, Russel

1,176

6,439

3,189

10,804

Turei, Metiria

3,548

791

11,751

4,871

20,961

Green Total

27,285

5,664

77,127

32,116

142,192

Let’s see which other parties front with theirs!

Update: Labour has released theirs too.

Update 2: The Speaker has reversed his decision and will be releasing individual MPs’ travel expenses.  That didn’t take long.  Well done, Greens and Labour.

Party     Member     Wel Accomm      Non Wel Accomm     Domestic Air Travel    Surface Trave     Grand Total
Green     Clendon, David         5,086          1,173          8,997          4,622         19,878
Delahunty, Catherine         4,969             120          5,029          3,926         14,044
Graham, Kennedy         3,975             218          9,779          1,674         15,645
Hague, Kevin         5,586             810         12,960          3,790         23,147
Hughes, Gareth                 376          8,499          4,750         13,625
Kedgley, Sue                 747          3,579          1,621          5,947
Locke, Keith         4,121             253         10,094          3,673         18,142
Norman, Russel              1,176          6,439          3,189         10,804
Turei, Metiria         3,548             791         11,751          4,871         20,961
Green Total              27,285          5,664         77,127         32,116       142,192

frog says

Published in Justice & Democracy | Parliament by frog on Tue, November 2nd, 2010   

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